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THE INSPIRED WORD. 



A SERIES OF 



PAPERS AND ADDRESSES 



DELIVERED AT THE 



BIBLE -INSPIRATION CONFERENCE, 

PHILADELPHIA, 1887. 



EDITED BY 

ARTHUR T. PIERSON. 

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NEW YORK: 
ANSON D. F. RANDOLPH & COMPANY, 

38 WEST TWENTY-THIRD STREET. 



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COPYRIGHT, 1888, BY 

ANSON D. F. RANDOLPH & COMPANY. 



EDWARD O. JENKINS' SONS, 

Printers and Stereotypers, 

20 North William Street, New York. 



A WOKD PEELIMINAKY. 



THE Word of God is the Palladium of the visible 
Church of Christ, which stands or falls with the Bible. 
In proportion as this blessed Book is reverenced and 
obeyed, does the believer's life increase or decline in all 
that constitutes its true vitality. 

It is not strange that upon the Word of God all the 
forces of the foes of Christianity should be massed. If 
confidence in that Word can be undermined ; if, by sub- 
tlety and sophistry, its infallible inspiration may be made 
to appear like an old wives' fable or groundless tradition ; 
if in any way men may feel at liberty, like Jehudi, to use 
a penknife on the sacred roll and cut out of it whatever is 
offensive to the proud reason or the wayward will of the 
natural man the Devil will have achieved his greatest 
triumph. 

Brethren, who are specialists in their departments of 
study, and who represent all forms of evangelical faith, 
were asked to come together and give their united testi- 
mony. The reader of these pages has the result before 
him. There is scarce a chord struck in which there is not 
the fullest harmony. If any discord is apparent, probably 
it is only apparent, and a clearer definition of terms would 
eliminate all seeming variance. 

The editor's work has been little more than a supervision 
of proof-reading and arrangement. The authors alone are 
responsible for the views they advocate; but it seemed 
wisest to allow the papers to stand without alteration, that 

(iii) 



iv A WORD PRELIMINARY. 

it might be seen liow general is the accord upon all that is 
fundamental to the unity, integrity, divine inspiration, and 
infallible authority of the Word of God. 

May the Author of that Word accompany this humble 
attempt, through the million tongues of the press, to give 
to a cosmopolitan audience the benefit of what was spoken 
comparatively in the ears of a few. 

In behalf of the Committee : 

ARTHUR T. PIERSON. 
PHILADELPHIA, PA., Feb., 1888. 



THE BIBLE COKFEKENCE IN PHILADELPHIA. 



THE following circular letter, issued in May, 1887, will 
sufficiently explain the Conference and the nature and con- 
tents of this volume : 

"It has been decided to hold a Conference in Philadelphia, No- 
vember 15-20, on the subject of The Plenary Inspiration of the Scrip- 
tures. 

" Irreverent sceptics persistently attack the foundations of our most 
holy religion, while professing friends of Christianity are doing in- 
calculable injury through their adverse criticisms on the Bible. 
Thus timid disciples become discouraged, many of whom make ship- 
wreck ; while the army of the doubters increase on every hand. Such 
a Conference is needed in order to confirm the faith of Christian be- , 
lievers in the canon of Holy Scripture, which, in its original lau- 
guages, has been held by the Church in all ages as the product of the 
Holy Spirit in all its parts and terms. Men of God spake and wrote 
as they were moved by the Divine Spirit. 

" The members of the Committee have selected the following topics 
to be presented by able, scholarly teachers, who have ever been faith- 
ful to the Bible as the very word of God : Importance of the Subject ; 
Different Theories of Inspiration ; Alleged Objections to Plenary In- 
spiration Considered ; Difference between Inspiration and Illumina- 
tion ; The Office of Criticism with reference to God's Word ; Jesus a 
Qualified Witness to Inspiration ; Testimony of the Apostles ; Canon 
of Scripture ; The Bible and the Monuments ; Adaptation of the Bible 
to Human Need ; The Bible Inspired, not Evolved ; The Bible an Or- 
ganic Whole ; The Testimony of Jesus to Himself ; The Scriptures are 

the Word of God, versus The Scriptures contain the Word of God ; 

History of the Doctrine of Inspiration ; Principles of Interpretation ; 
The Spirit and the Word ; Preach the Word ; Testimony of the Scrip- 
tures to Themselves ; Relation of the Personality of the Lord to the 
Doctrine of Inspiration ; Difficulties of Conscientious Readers Con- 
sidered ; The Structure of the Book an Evidence of its Inspiration ; 
Difference between Inspiration and Revelation ; The Bearing of 
Prophecy on Inspiration. 

(v) 



vi BIBLE CONFERENCE IN PHILADELPHIA. 

" We earnestly hope that this legitimate effort to make prominent 
the full Inspiration of God's Word will meet with your hearty accord 
and endorsement. If the Conference therefore commends itself to 
your judgment, we shall greatly appreciate your signature to the Call. 
Above all, we seek, with your brotherly co-operation, your earnest 
prayers, that through this effort God will indeed glorify Himself in 
the exaltation of His blessed Word. 

"We are yours, in the bonds of the Gospel, 

"WM. R. NICHOLSON, Chairman, 

"Bishop R. E. Church, Philadelphia. 
"JOHN T. BECKLEY, 

" Pastor Beth Eden Baptist Church, Philadelphia. 
"ROBERT C. MATLACK, 

"Sec. of Episcopal Educational Society, Phila. 
"ARTHUR T. PIERSON, 

"Pastor Bethany Presbyterian Church, Phila. 
"JAMES A. MORROW, 

" Secretary of Bible Society, Philadelphia. 
"J. HOWARD-SMITH, 

"Prof, of Systematic Div. R. E. C. Sem., Phila. 
"J. M. STIFLER, 

"Professor Crozier Theological Seminary. 
"J. L. LITCH, 

"Pastor Central Pres. Church, Norristown, Pa. 
"GEO. C. NEEDHAM, Secretary, 

' ' Manchester-by-the- Sea, Mass. " 

The other members of the Committee desire to add to the above, 
their own cordial recognition of the faithful and gratuitous labors of 
the Secretary, in whose mind the idea of the Conference first origi- 
nated, and by whose persevering efforts it was carried to a successful 
completion. EDITOR. 



The following was the Programme both of Topics and Speakers : 

NOVEMBER 15. TUESDAY. 

10 A.M. SPECIAL HOUR OP PRATER AND PRAISE. 

1. 11 A.M. OPENING ADDRESS, Rev. Thos. A. Hoyt, D.D. 

2. 3 P.M. QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION, 

Rev. Wayland Hoyt, D.D., Philadelphia. 



BIBLE CONFERENCE IN PHILADELPHIA. vii 

3. 4 P.M. THE RELATION OF THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTATEUCH, 

Prof. J. M. Stifler, D.D., Crozier Seminary, Pa. 

4. 7.30 P.M. THE TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF, 

Rev. Geo. S. Bishop, D.D., Orange, N. J. 

NOVEMBER 16. WEDNESDAY. 

5. 10 A.M. BIBLE MIRACLES, 

Prof. L. T. Townsend, D.D., Boston University. 

6. 11 A.M. PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION, 

Rev; Wm. Dinwiddie, D.D., Greenwood, Va. 

7. 3 P.M. ALLEGED OBJECTIONS TO INSPIRATION CONSIDERED, 

Rev. Washington Gardner, D.D., Jackson, Mich. 
*4 P.M. THE BIBLE AND THE MONUMENTS, 

Prof. W. R. Harper, Ph.D., Yale College. 

8. 7.30 P.M. THEORIES OF INSPIRATION, 

Rev. James H. Brookes, D.D., St. Louis. 

NOVEMBER 17. THURSDAY. 

9. 10 A.M. DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE AS TESTED BY THE LAWS 

OF EVIDENCE, Rev. T. S. Childs, D.D., Washington. 

10. 11 A.M. THE TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES TO INSPIRATION, 

Rev. T. C. Johnson, D.D., Charleston, West Virginia. 

11. 3 P.M. THE WONDERFUL BOOK, 

Rev. James E. Gilbert, D.D., Indianapolis. 

12. 4 P.M. THE BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION, 

Rt. Rev. Wm. R. Nicholson, D.D., Philadelphia. 

13. 7.30 P.M. JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS AND EXAMPLE OF IN- 

SPIRATION, 

Prof. Howard Osgood, D.D., Rochester Seminary, 
New York. 

NOVEMBER 18. FRIDAY. 

14. 10 A.M. THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS A PROOF OF INSPIRATION, 

Prof. W. G. Moorehead, D.D., Xenia College, Ohio. 

15. 11 A.M. THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE, 

Rev. Talbot W. Chambers, D.D., New York. 

16. 3 P.M. PREACH THE WORD, 

Rev. Howard Crosby, D.D., New York. 

17. 4 P.M. THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD, 

Geo. C. Needham, Evangelist. 

18. 7.30 P.M. THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE, 

Rev. Arthur T. Pierson, D.D., Philadelphia. 

* Dr. Harper withholds his paper, having other uses for it, which he wishes not 
to anticipate by its separate publication. ED. 



CONTENTS. 



PAGE 

OPENING ADDRESS. By Thomas A. Hoyt, 1 

QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. By Wayland 

Hoyt, - 8 

THE RELATION OF THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTATEUCH. 

By J. M. Stifler, - 31 

THE TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. By Geo. 

S. Bishop, 50 

BIBLE MIRACLES. By L. T. Townsend, 88 

PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION. By Wm. Dinwiddie, 110 
ALLEGED OBJECTIONS TO INSPIRATION CONSIDERED. By 

Washington Gardner, - 134 

THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. By James H. Brookes, 145 

DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE AS TESTED BY THE LAWS 

OF EVIDENCE. By T. S. Cliilds, 166 

THE TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES TO INSPIRATION. By 

T. C. Johnson, 180 

THE WONDERFUL BOOK. By James E. Gilbert, - 193 

THE BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. By Wm. 

E. Nicholson, - 203 

JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS AND EXAMPLE OF INSPI- 
RATION. By Howard Osgood, - 240 
THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS A PROOF OF INSPIRATION. 

By W. G. Moorehead, - 256 

THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. By Talbot W. Chambers, 285 
PREACH THE WORD. By Howard Crosby, - 313 

THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. By Evangelist George C. 

Needham, - 324 

THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. By Arthur T. 

Pierson, - - 338 



OPENING ADDKESS. 

THOS. A. HOYT, D.D. 

BRETHREN : I bid you welcome to this city, to this 
house. In the name of Chambers Church, and of the 
Christian people of Philadelphia, I salute you. Your 
persons and your cause alike command our hospitality. 
Your mission is a noble ore. "Were you met as a body 
of astronomers, we would regard you with interest, while 
you displayed the ' chart of the sidereal heavens, pierced 
their abysses with far-reaching telescope, revealed to our 
view millions of suns and systems, and caused us to listen 
to the oratorio of the stars, . 

" Forever singing as they shine, 
The hand that made us is divine." 

Or, were you geologists, we would be delighted to 
roam with you through the corridors of ages and study 
the successive eras of earth's formation, and gaze with 
awe upon the finger-prints of the Almighty impressed 
upon the rocks. These pursuits would be ennobling : 
in the one we would range through the realms of infinite 
space; in the other, through the epochs of unmeasured 
time ; in both, we would be led to the throne of Him 
who fills all space and embraces all time whose being is 
infinite, whose existence is eternal. 

Or, were you a company of geographers, we would lis- 
ten with profit to your descriptions of the surface of the 
earth ; its distribution into land and water ; its grada- 
tions of climate from arctic to tropical ; its variety of 

(1) 



scenery as seen in mountain and valley, forest and river, 
desert and jungle. We would hear " the shout of the 
isles answer the thunder of the continents." Under 
your guidance we would leap from pole to pole, and 
swifter than the electric current, our thoughts would 
girdle the globe at the equator. The steppes of Asia, 
the land of the midnight sun, the wastes of Alaska and 
Patagonia, the mysteries of the dark continent would be 
explored. 

Or, were you a learned assembly of historians, we 
would be fascinated by the story of mankind as it went 
forth from its source to people the earth ; its migrations ; 
its vicissitudes of conquest and subjugation, of civiliza- 
tion and barbarism, of glory and shame ; the transforma- 
tion of its primeval unity into a multitude of nations, 
languages, customs, laws, religions. 

Or, were you scientists, and could tell us of the forces 
of nature, could unfold the hidden powers of the material 
universe, and inform us of things kept secret from the 
beginning, but now made known to physical science, we 
would be pleased to hear you. 

Or, were you philosophers, and attempting a more ad- 
venturous flight, should discourse of man's nature, of his 
intellect, his affections, his will, of the true, the beautiful, 
the good ; should be able to tell us what man is in the 
depths of his consciousness; and should strive to ex- 
pound the principles of metaphysics, the laws of logic, 
and the essence of virtue : we would follow you with 
alacrity along these inviting, though arduous paths. 

Or, lastly, were you a convocation of patriots and phi- 
lanthropists assembled to consult for the welfare of the 
country and the race ; were the problem before you, how 
evils might be repressed, good morals promoted, the laws 
of the land enforced, and the customs of society rectified, 
you would be entitled to oar respect and sympathy. 



OPENING ADD.RESS. 3 

Were any of these the motive of jour meeting, we 
would gladly welcome you, and would gratefully receive 
your instructions on these high themes. 

But your purpose plumes itself for a yet loftier flight. 
It is said that the several species of the eagle differ in the 
elevation to which they attain. Some fly in full sight of 
man ; others can be barely seen as a speck in the sky ; 
others, still, mount beyond our vision ; while far above 
them all, soars the royal bird, and from its supreme 
height, poised on even pinions, surveys with serene 
majesty the entire scene of earth and air beneath it. 
Such is your mission as compared with all the depart- 
ments of knowledge I have enumerated. Some of them 
skim the ground, others rise to the upper air, others 
touch the stars, but you wing your flight to the third 
heaven. As the imperial eagle spurns the earth, the 
cloud, the thunder, and fixes his eye on the sun, so do you, 
in this conference, turn from all lower objects to gaze 
with undimmed vision upon the Sun of Righteousness. 
Your theme is greater than all the others because it over- 
laps and because it transcends them. 

The Bible touches all human knowledge ; it has a word 
to say on each of the subjects just passed under review ; 
and what it says is the basis of all that man has to say of 
them. But for the Bible we would know nothing of the 
origin of the universe. All the cosmogonies that men 
have invented are puerile conceptions. That God created 
the heavens and the earth, making all things by the word 
of His power this the greatest minds of antiquity failed 
to discover. This Book, only, unfolds the sublime pano- 
rama of creation, in which we behold worlds roll from 
the plastic hand of the Creator, and begin their mighty 
revolutions, while " all the sons of God shout for joy." 

The Bible utters the first syllable in the history of the 
human race. Deprived of its teachings, man is a riddle, 



4- OPENING ADDRESS. 

a sphinx, a baffling enigma to himself. Neither human 
history or human nature can be explained except in the 
light of Scripture ; unless man was at first holy, then fell 
into sin, and now has a Redeemer, we fail to comprehend 
how or what he is. Philosophy has stumbled just here : 
in striving to expound man's complex and tangled nature, 
she has omitted to notice that he is in an abnormal state ; 
that his soul is disturbed by a malign influence, and " like 
sweet bells, jangled and out of tune," no longer gives 
forth its pristine harmonies. 

Apart from the Bible, man knows nothing of his ori- 
gin. The wisest of the ancients failed to indicate the 
source of the stream of humanity, but indulged in wild, 
vague guesses. Some said he came from the beast, some 
from the gods, some from earth, others from the skies. It 
is only in this book we learn that God created man in 
His own image, that his body was formed of the dust of 
the ground, and that his spirit was the inspiration of the 
Almighty. 

As the Bible speaks the first word about man, so it ut- 
ters the last. Nowhere else can we learn of his destiny ; 
whether the soul dies with the body, or is reabsorbed in 
Deity, or reappears on earth, or vanishes into air, or 
passes into eternal sleep. No man knows what will come 
after death but those who have this divine revelation, in 
which are taught the Alpha and Omega of humanity ; 
that the body returns to earth as it was, that the spirit 
returns to God who gave it, that there will be a resurrec- 
tion of the dead, and that the soul and the body reunited 
shall live forever in happiness or woe, according to the 
final judgment, as determined by the good or evil of this 
present state. These truths, so familiar to us, are high as 
heaven above the thoughts of men : and this leads us to 
notice that the Bible not only overlaps human knowl- 
edge, but also transcends it. This has already appeared, 



OPENING ADDRESS. 5 

but we now enter a sphere where the contrast will be 
still more conspicuous. 

God is not only the sublimest, but the most indispensa- 
ble object of knowledge ; yet of God, man is most igno- 
rant. He knows but little of himself, but far less of God. 
Consider the notions of God held by the greatest of the 
heathen philosophers. They did not know whether there 
was one God or many; whether there was a supreme 
deity who made the world, or whether all the gods were 
themselves created beings ; whether God took care of the 
world, or held Himself aloof from it in stoical indifference 
or cynical contempt ; whether He was blind fate, or sub- 
ject to human passions ; whether religion and virtue were 
closely united or entirely separated. 

Amid this babel, listen to the clarion voice of the in- 
spired Word, which tells us u there is but one only, the 
living and true God "; that He made all things for Him- 
self; that His providence is over the works of His hands ; 
that " the first and great command is, Thou shalt love the 
Lord thy God with all thy heart ; and that the second is 
like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." 

Although God had manifested His eternal power and 
Godhead in His works, and although He had given man 
faculties with which to discern the tokens of deity, yet 
" the world by wisdom knew not God." Admitting, how- 
ever, that reason acting on the natural manifestations of 
God can derive some knowledge of Him, what is the ex- 
tent of that knowledge? We may from these sources 
learn that God is the First Cause, the Architect of 
the Universe, the moral Governor of the world, the Ar- 
biter of human destiny ; that He is the Creator, the Ru- 
ler, the Judge. 

But these are only the axioms of the theology of the 
Bible; the pedestal of the column of divine truth erected 
in the Scriptures ; the foundation of the glorious temple 



6 OPENING ADDRESS. 

of revealed religion. It is only in this Volume God pro- 
claims Himself "Merciful and gracious, long-suffering 
and abundant in goodness and truth ; keeping meray for 
thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin." 
Here, only, do we learn that " God so loved the world 
that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever be- 
lieveth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting 
life." From nothing but the study of this Book could 
have been derived the statement that " God is a Spirit, 
infinite, eternal, unchangeable in His being, wisdom, 
power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth "; and the 
inference that, as the prismatic colors compose the white 
light of day, so these attributes combine to form the sub- 
lime truth that " God is Love." 

Thus it is that God has magnified His word above all 
His name, or has magnified His name above all things by 
His word ; that is, God has revealed Himself more fully 
by His word than by any other method. Creation, Provi- 
dence, and Conscience proclaim His majesty and glory, 
but the word reveals His inmost heart. 

Such is the foundation of your faith, and it is immov- 
able. When the wise man mused upon the evanescence 
of human life, when he saw that "one generation passeth 
away and another generation cometh," he assured himself 
with the thought that "the earth abideth forever." 
Thus, when we reflect with anxiety upon the rapid fluc- 
tuations of human opinion, we are strengthened by the 
conviction that " the word of the Lord liveth and abideth 
forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of 
man as the flower of grass ; the grass withereth and the 
flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord en- 
dureth forever." 

The Bible is that immortal word of God. Though it 
may be obscured at times by the mist of human error, by 
the fog of human doubt, by the storm of human passion, 



OPENING ADDRESS. 7 

it remains fixed and immovable. The polar star may 
be hidden from our view by the exhalations of earth, by 
clouds in the sky, by the black wings of the tempest ; but 
these pass away, and the great sentinel of the heavens 
still beams upon us with celestial radiance. In like man- 
ner, amid the gloom of sin, folly, and doubt, this divine 
luminary enlightens the world ; " seeing it is God that 
said, Light shall shine out of darkness, who hath shined 
in our hearts." In the light of God we see light; 
the direct rays of the sun do not penetrate the cav- 
erns of earth ; we must soar, that we may gaze. 

The aim of this conference is to ascend " the vantage- 
ground of truth a hill not to be commanded, and where 
the air is always clear and serene, and not with swelling 
and pride, but with pity "; with yearning hearts and 
helping hands, "to see the errors and wanderings and 
mists and tempests in the vale below." " Certainly it 
is heaven upon earth to have a man's mind move in char- 
ity, rest in providence, and turn upon the poles of truth." 

" On every summit lies repose." Far above the dust 
and clamor, cloud and storm, you discern the peak of 
Fisgah ; it is the mount of vision ; if you can reach it, 
the world will be below and heaven above you : it will 
become Mt. Tabor, and you shall be transfigured into the 
likeness of your Lord. 

Fear not, brethren, to make the bold attempt ; the foot 
of the hill is enveloped in clouds and conflict ; its top is 
bathed in light. 

" Like some tall cliff that lifts its awful form, 
Swells from the vale and midway leaves the storm, 
Though 'round its breast the rolling clouds are spread, 
Eternal sunshine settles on its head." 



QUESTIONS COKCEKKING INSPIKATIOK 

WAYLAKD HOYT, D.D. 

FROM the Cape of Good Hope there shoots out into the 
sea a sand-bank, forty or fifty miles in length, making the 
sea shallower and more dangerous, and along which a 
tremendous current swirls. 

It was in the year 1830, an East Indiaman, called the 
Lady Holland, was making the then tedious and difficult 
passage to Hindostan. For a whole week the clouds had 
hidden the sun ; accurate knowledge of the position of the 
ship had been impossible ; the winds had blown fitfully 
and boisterously; three times the vessel had been beaten 
off her course, but by soundings, on Saturday, the 13th 
of February, the captain knew that he had entered on this 
shoal. 

It was hazardous to go on far in such doubt of his where- 
abouts, and in such rough water, and in the grasp of such 
a current. He would turn the vessel back to sea by 8 
o'clock that evening, the captain said ; then, having taken 
further soundings, he thought he might safely go on till 
10 o'clock, when he would surely turn back or heave to 
till morning. But, when four bells sounded 10 o'clock, 
and the captain was just about to give the order to turn 
back, with tremendous concussion the ship struck upon 
rocks a jagged, cruel reef of them, over which the waves 
dashed so savagely that wave and rock together broke the 
vessel's back at once, and the fore-part of her sank amid 
the breakers. 

I cannot wait to tell the story of* the escape of the pas- 
sengers, and how, at last, they were all landed upon a bit 
of sandy beach, amid the rocks. One of the passengers on 
(8) 



QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. Q 

board this wrecked ship, Lady Holland, was a young man, 
Alexander Duff. He was on his way to what subsequently 
proved to be such magnificent missionary service in India. 

The significant fact just now, is this : while the wrecked 
passengers were huddled in a hovel erected by searchers 
for penguins' eggs amid these rocks and sands, a sailor, walk- 
ing along the little beach, noticed something cast up high 
and dry. Going to it, he found it to be a quarto copy of 
Bagster's Bible and a Scotch Psalm-book, scarcely shattered, 
and with Mr. Duff's name written on both distinctly. 
That Bible and that edition of the Psalms were about the 
only books, out of a library of more than 800 volumes 
which this young missionary was taking with him to India, 
which were not swallowed up in the shipwreck or reduced 
to pulp. 

And what is still more singular, this copy of the Bible 
had not been in daily use, but wrapped in chamois leather, 
had been packed in the boxes with the other books. They 
had been dashed to pieces or wetted into pulp. Here, in 
the poor hovel, he held the uninjured Bible in his hands, 
and read out of it to the drenched, chilled, but saved pas- 
sengers, the 107th, the traveler's Psalm : 

For He commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind: which 
lifteth up the waves thereof. 

They mount up to the heaven : they go down again to the 
depths : their soul is melted because of trouble. 

They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man; 
and are at their wit's end. 

Then they cry unto the Lord hi their trouble: and He 
bringeth them out of their distresses. 

He maketh the storm a calm: so that the waves thereof 
are still. 

Then are they glad, because they be quiet: so He bring- 
eth them unto their desired haven. 

The experience made a profound and capturing impres- 
sion upon Mr. Duff. It ruled his life. It was, to him, 



10 QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 

the voice of Providence, declaring that, compared with all 
other books, the Bible was the supreme and supremely 
necessary book for India for man. 

And what a most real picture of the history of the 
Bible this incident. To wreck the Bible, to make it pulp, 
though men have affirmed it done a thousand times, has 
been impossible. Out of every storm of higher criticism, 
so-called, like Kuenen's and his school ; or of lower criti- 
cism, like Torn Paine' s or Voltaire's ; or of scientific skepti- 
cism and denial, like Haeckel's, and much of our modern 
so-called advanced materialistic thought ; or of ecclesiastical 
proscription, like that of Home ; or of a fashionable and 
sensual neglect, like that of the upper classes in England 
in the 18th century ; somehow, the Bible gets surely seen 
to be the victor, and not the victim of the storm. 

And while, in our day, the storm against the Bible does 
not lessen, in our day also the triumph of the Bible is the 
more radiantly seen. Up to the year 1800 from four to 
six million copies in about thirty different languages meas- 
ured the distribution of the Bible. Eighty years later, 
eighty different Bible societies with unnumbered agencies 
and auxiliaries report a distribution of more than 165,000,- 
000 copies of the Bible or of portions of it, together with 
206 new translations, and besides this are to be reckoned 
the unknown millions of Bibles and New Testaments dis- 
tributed by private publishers throughout the world. 
When the Canterbury revision of the New Testament 
was at last issued, immediately began the largest sale ever 
known of any single book, and immediately was sent from 
New York to Chicago the longest telegraphic message ever 
wired, about 118,000 words the New Testament, from 
the first of Matthew to the last of Romans because pub- 
lic interest was so great that it could not brook the delay 
of twenty-four hours of transmission by the slower steam. 
Verily, no wreck has struck the Bible yet 



Q U.ES TIONS CONCERNING INSPIRA TION. \ 1 

Says Thomas Carlyle : " In the poorest cottage are 
books is one Book, wherein for several thousands of 
years the spirit of man has found light, nourishment, 
and interpreting response to whatever is deepest in him ; 
wherein still, to this day, for the eye that will look well, 
the mystery of existence reflects itself, if not resolved, yet 
revealed, and prophetically emblemed ; if not to the satis- 
fying of the outward sense, yet to the opening of the in- 
ward sense, which is the far grander result." 

And what was true when the great Scotchman wrote 
these words, is truer still to-day of the expanding sover- 
eignty of the Bible. Yerily, the presence and influence 
of the Bible in the world of mind is a moral phenomenon 
no less imperial than the grasp and sway of the great ele- 
mental forces in the world which we call physical. 

For this persistent and victorious empire of the Bible 
the immemorial explanation and affirmation has been the 
INSPIRATION or IT. And by Inspiration has been always 
meant that the Bible was given to man ~by God, and that 
it was so given that it becomes for man the authoritative 
and infallible standard for doctrine and for deed. 

Now, this of Inspiration, and therefore of Infallibility, 
is not a new claim for the Bible ; it is the ancient claim. 
And yet, even so fair and candid, and usually scholarly 
a man as Jarnes Freeman Clarke, in combating the ortho- 
dox doctrine of Inspiration, will allow himself to make 
such a statement as is to be found on the 94th page of his 
" Truths and Errors of Orthodoxy," where he says : " The 
orthodox theory rests on few facts, but is mainly an as- 
sumption. It seemed necessary that there should be au- 
thority somewhere ; and when Protestants rejected the 
authority of the Church, they took the Bible in its place. 
The doctrine of inspiration, therefore, was adopted as a 
basis for the authority of the Bible." 

And so the doctrine of Inspiration, no older than the 



12 QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 

"Reformation, is the necessary and intended inference. 
And this is a charge not ^infrequently made by those 
who would dispute the doctrine. 

Let us listen to' the Christian Fathers for a moment, as 
Canon Westcott has so carefully arranged their sayings on 
this matter in Appendix B. in his introduction to the 
Gospels, and entitled " On the Primitive. Doctrine of In- 
spiration ": 

Epistle of Barnabas. " The Lord saith in the 
Prophet "; " the Spirit of the Lord prophesieth "; " the 
prophets received their gift from Christ and spake of 
Him "; " Moses spake in the Spirit." 

Clement of Rome." The Holy Spirit saith "; " look 
carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utter- 
ances of the Holy Spirit." " Ye know, beloved, ye know 
well the sacred Scriptures, and have looked carefully into 
the oracles of God" ; apostles sent to preach the kingdom 
of God " with ike full assurance and measure of the Holy 
Spirit when they had received the promises, and been 
fully convinced by the Resurrection, and confirmed in the 
word of God," of whose number, "the blessed Paul, at 
the beginning of the Gospel, in very truth wrote by in- 
spiration" 

Ignatius. " For the divinest prophets lived according 
to Jesus Christ, 'being inspired ly His grace "/ " I do not 
give you injunctions as Peter and Paul ; they were apos- 
tles I a condemned man." 

Justin Martyr. The " history which Moses wrote l)y 
Divine inspiration, while the Holy Spirit of prophecy 
taught through him"; "we have been commanded by 
Christ himself to obey not the teachings of men, but that 
which hath been proclaimed by the blessed prophets and 
taught by Him" 

Athenagoras. The Christian "gives no heed to the 
doctrines of men, but those uttered and taught ly God"; 



QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 13 

" he has prophets as witnesses of his creed, who, inspired 
~by the Spirit, have spoken of God and the things of God." 

Irenceus. To ns " the apostles, by the will of God, 
have consigned the Gospel* in the Scriptures to be the 
ground and pillar of our faith, and by them we have 
learnt the truth ; that is, the doctrine of the Son of God, 
for after that our Lord rose from the dead, and they 
were clothed with the power of the Spirit from on high, 
they were filled with a perfect knowledge in all things." 

Origen. u Truly, it is most evidently preached in the 
churches that the Holy Spirit inspired each of the saints, 
prophets, and apostles, and that the same Spirit was pres- 
ent in those of old time, as in those who were inspired at 
the coming of Christ "; Christ, the Word of God, was in 
" Moses and the prophets, and l>y His Spirit they spake 
and did all things"; "the records of the Gospels are ora- 
cles of the Lord pure oracles, as silver purified seven 
times in the fire"; " they were accurately written l>y the 
co-operation of the Holy Spirit" 

Surely, it were hardly possible to state, in any words 
which we might choose, more definitely and clearly the 
doctrine of the infallible and authoritative Inspiration 
of the Scriptures. This is no modern doctrine ; it is the 
immemorial claim. As they did for so many other doc- 
trines, the creeds of the Reformation but rescued this, of 
the infallible and solely authoritative Inspiration of the 
Scriptures, and brought it out from the blackening 
shadow of an apostate and arrogating Church which had 
been declaring itself the chief authority. 

But that, concerning this doctrine of Inspiration there 
is in our day much doubt and discussion, must be evident 
to him who is in the least alive to the tides and turnings 
of thought around himself. 

Concerning this doctrine of Inspiration I propose to 
ask, and, as far as I may be able, to answer, four questions, 



14 QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 

This is the first question : What is that for which 
Inspiration is to ~be claimed f King James' version? 
Certainly not. The Canterbury revision? No. The 
Douay version? Of course not. The Bishops' version, 
the Genevan, Craniner's, Tyndall's, "Wicklifi's, in Ger- 
many Luther's any one of the versions which have ever 
been made at any time or anywhere is Inspiration to be 
claimed for all or any one of these ? By no means. Well, 
then, of the most ancient and precious manuscripts which 
we possess the Ephraem palimpsest in the imperial 
library at Paris, the Alexandrian codex in the British 
Museum, the Vatican codex in the Vatican, or most an- 
cient possibly, and most complete of all, the Sinaitic 
codex at St. Petersburg of these most venerable and in- 
estimably valuable manuscripts is Inspiration to be 
claimed ? 

The Rev. H. R. Haweis, of London, said, in a recent 
address on Inspiration, before the students of Harvard 
University, that the doctrine of Inspiration comprised 
the notion of inspired copyists and inspired printers and 
even of inspired printers' devils pitiable and worse joke 
on so grave a subject. 

But neither for versions nor for manuscripts is Inspira- 
tion to be claimed. lospiration is to be claimed only for 
the primal sacred autographs. 

Immediately do we admit that the variations, small and 
great, among the various existing manuscripts number not 
less than one hundred and twenty thousand. And while 
we are glad to know that the most of these variations are 
only those of spelling and inflection ; that there are not 
more than sixteen hundred or two thousand places where 
the true reading is at all in doubt ; that the places where 
doubtful readings affect the sense are fewer still ; that those 
of any dogmatic importance are comparatively immensely 
few ; while we are devoutly thankful to what we believe 



QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION, 15 

to be a Divine Providence which has so marvellously 
preserved for us a knowledge of the original inspired 
text ; and while we rejoice to know that through the de- 
velopment of the science of Biblical criticism " there is 
reason to believe that never since the apostolic age was 
the original text of Scripture more accessible than it is to- 
day to the careful student," let it be forever remem- 
bered that to quote the language of a distinguished 
teacher of theology " we affirm Inspiration and author- 
ity of the original Scriptures, the sacred autographs, but 
not of the copies or versions." 

Many alleged errors and discrepancies in the Scriptures 
are the fault not of the original inspired Scriptures, but 
of the ignorance or carelessness or unwise zeal of the 
copyist. 

"We believe a most gracious Providence has, in a most 
wonderful way, kept for us a knowledge of the original 
inspired Scriptures. But that Providential guardianship, 
through pen of copyist, and resistance of decay of parch- 
ment, and secluded resting-place in some vault or library, 
and stroke of the printing-press of Guttenberg, is a to- 
tally different thing from that divine inspiration and 
therefore divine authority which we affirm belongs, for ex- 
ample, to that first copy of the Epistle to the Romans 
which the Apostle dictated and to which he affixed his 
own apostolic signature. It is that text which is the in- 
spired text. Copies of that text are but the windows 
through which we look upon that text. 

This is the second question : What was the method of 
that original Inspiration f 

Consider, that as plainly as one walking on the sea- 
beach holds in his vision two diverse elements the ground 
on which he walks, and the sea heaving to the far margin, 
and dashing in long curls of foam along the shore ; so 
must one, looking into the Bible, be immediately con- 



16 QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 

scious that his mental vision rests also upon two elements 
as plainly diverse, and yet at the same time as plainly 
evident, namely, the divine element in the Scripture and 
the human. 

It is said that a chaplain of Frederick William First of 
Prussia, having been ordered to give the briefest possible 
proof of the truth of Christianity, replied : " The Jews, 
your Majesty ! " Certainly a most happy and true answer. 

In the centre of the Place de la Concorde, at Paris, 
thrusting its straight shaft into the wonderful vista open- 
ing from the gardens of the Tuileries to the majestic Arch 
of Triumph crowning that distant hill, there stands an 
Egyptian obelisk. You draw near and gaze upon it, and 
your first thought is that of difference. That single block 
of reddish porphyritic granite, those exact sides mounting 
upward to the stars, those distinct and strange yet singu- 
larly beautiful hieroglyphics sculptured into its faces, pro- 
claim at once the fact that there is an immense chasm be- 
tween it and the modern buildings and statues and foun- 
tains which surround it. It belongs to another age and to 
another people and to another civilization than that which 
spreads its roofs and lays out its gardens and dashes on its 
tides of frivolity and pleasure beneath its shadow and 
around its base. 

And amid all civilizations, and amid all countries, and in 
almost every city of the old world and the new, there has 
been lifted the shaft of a nationality as un mingled and as 
easily distinguished and as severely-distinct from all the 
other peoples amid which it stands, as is that Egyptian 
obelisk in Paris from the modern buildings around it. 
Persecution, climate, various environment, so active and 
so efficient in change toward all other peoples, seem to be 
somehow helpless and baffled toward this people. I need not 
wait to show how you can read of the present plight and 
status of the Jewish people in those old prophecies, uttered 



QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 17 

and written thousands of years ago, as plainly as to-day you 
can see their plight and status in the streets of any modern 
city. 

In this photographically exact forecasting of the future 
of which history, as the days go, becomes but the more 
and more precise fulfillment, and which is so evidently 
utterly above any human ken or guess, in this large pro- 
phetic araa of the Scripture, how plainly does this divine 
element appear. 

So also, does the divine element appear in all those dis- 
closures concerning that other world to which we hasten. 
It is divine light which shines down into our dark world 
from the New Jerusalem. Forevermore the tomb has 
been too awfully opaque for man's poor vision to descry 
beyond it. 

So also, does the divine element appear in all those match- 
less principles and precepts which make the Bible so unique 
a book. No merely human teacher could have ever uttered 
the Sermon on the Mount. Indeed, a constant element in 
the Bible is this divine element. What the blood is to the 
body, is the divine element to the Scripture. 

But, on the other hand, an element as real and as per- 
vasive is the Human. Moses, Samuel, David, Solomon, 
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezra, Ezekiel, Malachi, Paul, Matthew, 
Luke, Mark, James, Peter, John these are men, and 
they and the other inspired writers with them, do 
bring into this Scripture a distinctively human element. 

They bring into the Scriptures a human element, in that 
they so manifest diverse temperaments. Moses is never 
Joshua, nor Isaiah Jeremiah, nor Ezra Ezekiel, nor Paul 
Peter, nor the far-flashing, deep-hearted John the prosaic 
James. 

They bring into the Scripture a human element, 
in that they reflect their different environments. As 
the mountains and seas and pellucid airs of Greece appear 



18 QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 

in Homer, so do these human writers of the Scripture be- 
come the mirrors of their surroundings. The thunder- 
storm, marshalling the squadrons of its black clouds upon 
those flanks of Lebanon which David could behold, flashes 
and crashes in David's Psalms ; the figures of Ezekiel get 
their shape from that grotesque but powerfully significant 
Assyrian sculpture amid which he was exile ; you can 
see the impress of Gamaliel's school on Paul ; and if one 
did not know of his long imprisonments in their garri- 
sons, one would easily suspect that Paul must have been 
thrust into the closest contact with soldiers from his con- 
stant military figures. 

These writers bring into the Scripture a human ele- 
ment, in that they constantly manifest their own peculiari- 
ties and idiosyncrasies of style. They are never in the 
least, like puppets, compelled. They are always like free 
men, freely disporting according to their natural make 
and inclination. He only sings and soars a poet in the 
Scripture who, like David or Isaiah, is naturally a poet. 
The logical Paul argues. The deep, mystical John, with- 
out argument, announces. 

Further, there is a human element wrought into the Scrip- 
ture, in that entirely natural and usual human conditions 
are made use of. The prophetic vision is flashed into a 
dream as the prophet sleeps ; and even trances and trans- 
ports frequently take their rise and borrow their meaning 
from the then surroundings of the subject of them. It is 
to the hungry Peter who would have eaten, that the revela- 
tion of the obliteration of the vast distinction between Jew 
and Gentile in the Christian Church is made, under the 
form of food for which his hunger was then calling. 

There is also a human element brought into the Scrip- 
ture, in that the mightiest and most far-reaching instruc- 
tion for all the ages is made to hang on entirely hum'an 
and natural events. They were the worldliness and de- 



Q UESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRA TION. \ 9 

filement and clashings of the little clmrch at Corinth that 
called out, and, on the human side, were the causes of the 
Epistles to the Corinthians. 

There is, in addition, a human element carried into the 
Scripture, in that so large a portion of it is but a record 
historical and biographical. For this, no disclosure from 
God was needful ; there need be nothing more than a 
transcription of the archives of the kingdom of Judah or 
of the kingdom of Israel, as simply human an operation 
as can be well conceived of. 

Here are evidences, and many others might be men- 
tioned too, of a human element at work in the Scripture, 
an element as really human as to put it no lower Plato 
was human when he discoursed concerning his republic. 

I do not know a finer phrase which at once condenses 
and expresses all that I have been saying of these evidently 
present and different elements in Scripture, than that of 
Professor Murphy, the author of what seems to me the 
most wonderfully luminous commentary extant on the 
Genesis: "The Bible is the Word of God, with all the 
peculiarities of man, and all the authority of God." 

I have read of an amateur painter who one day, having 
finished a landscape sketch, found that he had gotten the 
rocks in the foreground of it altogether wrongly placed 
and painted. Rather than paint out his rocks and paint 
them in again aright, he would change the rocks. So, 
with spade and crowbar, and digging and tugging, he falls 
to and forces the rocks into some poor accordance with his 
picture. It is not infrequently that thus, holders of pet 
theories treat facts. They will not adjust their theory to 
the facts. They will misplace facts to their theory. 

I suppose, concerning no doctrine has a bad theory 
wrought more mischief than with this of Inspiration, be- 
cause the reaction has been so often and so quick to the 
denial of Inspiration altogether. I do not suppose that 



20 QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 

many in these days hold the bald and distorting mechanic 
cal theory ; but the results, in a kind of weakening hold of 
the doctrine of Inspiration, on the public mind, show plainly 
enough, the evil of its ever having been holden. While 
there is about this theory of the method of Inspiration 
great show of reverence, there is really no reverence in it 
at all, because it so plainly dashes itself athwart God's facts. 
When even so great a man as the judicious Hooker says : 
" The sacred writers, as often as God engaged them in this 
heavenly work, neither spoke nor wrote anything of their 
own, but uttered syllable by syllable as the Spirit put it into 
their mouths "; when he thus degrades the sacred writers 
from penmen into pens, he only makes most injudicious 
mischief by a statement so already at variance with the plain 
facts ; and all who thus in their thought and theory and 
speech deny or tend toward the denying of the plain human 
element in Scripture, help on and perpetuate the mischief. 

And it is to be said that it was with precisely this me- 
chanical notion of Inspiration that Coleridge broke, when 
enunciating his criterion of Inspiration as that which finds 
him, he goes on to protest against " the doctrine which re- 
quires me to believe that not only what finds me, but all 
that exists in the sacred volume, and which I am bound to 
find therein, was not only inspired by, that is, composed by 
men under the actuating influence of the Holy Spirit, but 
likewise dictated by an infallible Intelligence." 

In attempting to state a theory of the method of Inspira- 
tion which shall seek to adjust itself with the facts and not 
the facts with itself ; which shall humbly and reverently 
recognize the divine element in the Scripture, but at the 
same time as really the so manifestly freely acting human 
element in it, let certain things be remembered. 

Let it be remembered that Inspiration is not necessarily 
dictation. I quote here the illustration, and, to a great 
extent, the words of another : 



QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 21 

"When Benjamin Franklin was a young man, one of 
his hungriest desires was to acquire a perfect style of 
writing; and, as he admired Addison more than any 
other author, he was accustomed to take an essay of the 
1 Spectator,' and make very full notes of all its thoughts, 
images, sentiments, and of some few of its phrases. He 
would then place his manuscript in his drawer, wait sev- 
eral weeks, or until he had forgotten the language of the 
original, and then would take his memoranda and write 
out an essay including every idea, emotion, flash of im- 
agination he had transferred from Addison to his notes, 
and would seek thus to make his coarser and rougher 
style something like Addison's smooth and quietly flow- 
ing one. Franklin's essay was in such a case not dicta- 
ted, but was inspired by Addison. 

" Orthodoxy believes the Bible to be inspired, and her 
definition of inspiration is the gift of infallibility in teach- 
ing moral and religious truth. But, by inspiration thus 
defined, orthodoxy does not mean dictation. She means 
that the Bible is as full of God as Franklin's echoed 
essay was of Addison. As in his essay there were both an 
Addisonian and a Franklinian element, so, speaking 
roundly, there are in the Bible a divine and a human ele- 
ment, but the latter is swallowed up in the former even 
more completely than the Franklinian was in the Addi- 
sonian. All the thought in Franklin's essay is, by sup- 
position, Addison's, and some of the phrases are his, but 
Franklin's words are there. All the moral and religious 
thought of the Bible is, according to the definition of inspi- 
ration, divine, and so are some of the phrases, but human 
words are there." 

Let it be further remembered that Inspiration is not 
necessarily Revelation. Indeed, it seems to me quite 
possible to make out from the Scripture the distinction 
which Archdeacon Lee insists on that Eevelation and 



22 Q UES TIONS CONCERNING INSPIRA TION. 

Inspiration differ generally as to the source Revelation 
being the office of the divine Word, and Inspiration of the 
divine Spirit. There is much in the Scripture which is 
Revelation, as when Paul declares to the Galatiaris that 
he received the Gospel which he preached by Revelation. 
There is much in the Bible for which no Revelation what- 
ever was necessary. The subject-matter of it was already 
in existence. It was, for example, sheer and simple and 
recorded history. The sacred writer was a mere copyist, 
transcribing, for example, the lists of kings in Chronicles. 
But, while Revelation had nothing to do with such a pro- 
cess as this, Inspiration plainly had. Inspiration has to 
do with the accurate transmission of truth to future ages. 
And as Inspiration aided Paul to tell the Gospel which he 
received by Revelation, accurately, to set its mighty mean- 
ings forth, free from error, in his wonderful epistles, so I 
believe Inspiration enabled the compiler of the Chronicles 
to give that section of Jewish history to men inerrant, 
to use the word just now in vogue. But Revelation and 
Inspiration are diverse. As an inspired man might re- 
ceive new truth from God as Paul did, so an inspired man 
might go searching amid musty records to find out historic 
truth, as the compiler of the Chronicles, we will suppose, 
did. The inspiration is concerned about the accurate set- 
ting forth of the subject-matter, whether it be a great 
gospel, or a snatch of history about the reign of some ob- 
scure and ancient king. 

Let us also remember that profound sentence of Rev. 
Dr. Henry B. Smith : " God speaks through the personal- 
ity as well as through the lips of His messengers." Pour 
into that word " personality " everything which, speaking 
generally, goes to form personality the age in which the 
person lived, his environment, his degree of culture, his 
temperament, whether logical, like that of Paul, or mys- 
tical, like that of John. 



QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 23 

And now, remembering these things, that Inspiration 
is not necessarily dictation ; nor Revelation ; and that a 
personality would be chosen of God just because that per- 
sonality was the one best fitted, because of temperament, 
environment, culture, to set forth the sort of truth just 
then necessary to be set forth it seems to me that we 
must see that Inspiration was not a mechanical, crass, bald 
compulsion of the sacred writers ; but, on the other hand, 
was such, dynamic, divine, influence over his freely -acting 
faculties, that his faculties, in their relation to the saying 
forth, or the writing forth, of the subject-matter then in 
hand were kept inerrant. 

In this view, even personal character is not a necessary 
element in Inspiration. Even the covetous Balaam or the 
double-dealing Caiaphas may, for the moment, accurately 
say forth the truth of God. 

Nor were the sacred writers any further influenced than 
toward the setting forth of the special subject-matter of 
the truth just then in hand. Entire accuracy here might 
easily consist with ignorance or failure of memory toward 
other things. The teaching, and the expression of that 
teaching, in the first Epistle to the Corinthians, are entirely 
accurate ; at the same time, it is possible that Paul should 
not be able to recollect how many people he had baptized 
at Corinth a thing aside from the particular subject- 
matter of the Epistle. 

And now in concluding the answer to this second ques- 
tion as to the method of Inspiration, let me transcribe a 
brief passage from the u Inspiration of Scripture," by Arch- 
deacon Lee, a book which, though written as far back as 
1854, does not seem to me to have been surpassed by any 
subsequent book, I know, upon the subject. Says Arch- 
deacon Lee : 

" In the combination of the two elements thus co-operating, 
namely, the actuation by the Spirit of God, and the distinct 



24: QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 

but subordinate agency of man, consists what has been usu 
ally termed the dynamical theory of Inspiration. According 
to this theory the Holy Ghost employs man's faculties in con- 
formity with their natural laws ; at the same time animat- 
ing, guiding, moulding them so as to accomplish the Divine 
purpose, just as in nature the principle of life, when annexed 
to certain portions of matter, exhibits its vital energy in ac- 
cordance with the conditions which that matter imposes ; while 
it governs and directs, at the same time, the organism with 
which it is combined. We must therefore look upon Inspi- 
ration as a divine power, acting not only on but through man. 
We must not regard the sacred penmen, on the one hand, as 
passive machines, yielding to an external mechanical force 
such a view takes in merely the objective side of Inspiration ; 
on the other hand, if we dwell solely upon the subjective phase 
of this influence, we lose sight of the living connection of 
the writer with God. Were this latter conception correct, the 
authors of the Scripture, following the impulse of their own 
genius and in accordance with their own judgment, proceeded, 
in the natural course of things, to develop new inferences f roni 
the germ of truth implanted within them. The true theory, 
as it recoils from any such negation of the Divine majesty of 
the Bible, so it equally ignores the defective estimate of the 
opposite extreme. The human element, instead of being sup- 
pressed, becomes an integral part of the agency employed ; the 
peculiar type of each writer's nature was even essential to the 
due reception of that particular phase of truth presented by his 
statements ; his share in the great work was apportioned to the 
order of his intellect and the class of his emotions ; while his 
characteristic form of expression was absolutely requisite for 
the adequate and complete conveyance of His Divine message." 

As Canon Westcott has said : " The Bible is authorita- 
tive, for it is the voice of God ; it is intelligible, for it is 
in the language of men" 

I think all I have been saying will enable me to make 
a very speedy answer to the third question I have to ask 
concerning Inspiration namely, What is the extent of it ? 

Does Inspiration extend to every part of Scripture ? It 
seems to ine, recollecting that Inspiration has to do with 



Q UESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRA TION. 25 

the transmission of truth; and recollecting also the dis- 
tinction between Revelation and Inspiration ; it seems to 
me that the answer must be an immediate yes Inspira- 
tion extends to the whole of Scripture, to your dry list 
in Chronicles as much as to the detailing of Isaiah's vision, 
or of the wonderful words of the Master in the upper 
room, or of the linked arguments of Paul. The true for- 
mula cannot be, the Bible contains the word of God ; it 
must be, the Bible is the word of God. 

But further, does Inspiration extend not simply to the 
thought, but also to the very words of Scripture ? Re- 
membering that while Inspiration is not necessarily dic- 
tation, but also remembering that Inspiration is the dy- 
namic Divine guidance of faculty, it seems to me again 
that the answer must be immediately yes Inspiration ex- 
tends even to the very words of Scripture. 

But here I would reject the old phrase " verbal Inspi- 
ration" because it is a phrase so conjoined with the old, 
bad, mechanical theory of remorseless dictation. But I 
would hold to and affirm the Inspiration of the Scripture 
even as to words in the phrase plenary Inspiration, which 
means that the Scripture is full of Inspiration up to and 
including its words. In what way full, the dynamic the- 
ory explains. 

I think this matter of the Plenary Inspiration of Scrip- 
ture, even to its words, a most important one. Granting 
that, by a straining and breathless tug of inward-looking 
attention, you can dimly distinguish in your consciousness 
between the thought and the words, still must remain in- 
disputably true, I think, this statement of Dr. Hodge, of 
Princeton : " The thoughts are in the words. The two 
are inseparable. If the words priest, sacrifice, ransom, 
expiation, propitiation, purification by blood, and the like, 
have no divine authority, then the doctrine which they 
embody has no such authority." 



26 QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPTRATfON. 

You confront me with objections. You point me, for 
example, to the discrepant accounts concerning the Resur- 
rection. I answer, plainly to me at least, these are not 
discrepant accounts. They are only different sides of a 
great fact as different people saw these different sides. 
These apparent discrepancies are even valuable to me as 
manifest evidence of the perfectly freely acting human 
faculty, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost. 

You point me to variations as to numbers. I answer, we do 
not claim inspiration for copyists, and precisely here is 
where copyists would be likeliest to blunder. Besides, we 
have to do with oriental methods of computation, which, 
as I have read, " permit one to write first the units, and 
then the tens, and then the hundreds, or to reverse the or- 
der and write the highest first." Hence confusion and the 
liability to tumble over statements in translation. For 
example, in Samuel where fifty thousand, threescore and 
ten men are mentioned, it is literally seventy, and fifty 
and a thousand, which may mean either, as in our version, 
fifty thousand threescore and ten, or it may mean one 
thousand one hundred and seventy. Before declaring 
against the plenary Inspiration of the Scriptures because 
of variations in numbers, I will wait until it is sure to be 
absolutely impossible to harmonize the variant numbers. 

You fling at me the imprecatory Psalms. I answer, 
with Professor Phelps : when Milton sang his sonnet on 
the slaughter of the martyrs, in Piedmont, 

' ' Avenge, O Lord, Thy slaughtered saints, whose bones 
Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold," 

he gave expression to a feeling of indignation against ter- 
rible wrong than which nothing can be more righteous. 
His words are the reflection of the divine opyrj. The 
quality of righteous wrath is in God, therefore it ought 
to be in a healthy literature written by man, who is the 



QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 2Y 

image of God. I think imprecatory Psalms ought to be 
expected in Scripture. I think, were there no imprecatory 
Psalms in Scripture there were missed one of the firmest 
evidences of its divine origination. 

You point me to apparent clashes with scientific 
theories. I answer, the Bible is a book whicli teaches 
morals. The idea of Inspiration is infallibility in the 
realm of morals and religion. Its speech about scientific 
facts must therefore be according to the popular concep- 
tion of those facts. But, on the one hand, scientific theory 
does not always prove itself to be scientific fact. And, on 
the other hand, there have been already proven too many 
strange fore-pointings and fore-flashings toward the latest 
scientific facts in the very turn of the words of the won- 
derful book, to make me fear that Scriptural expression 
and real scientific fact will, at last, not be found in har- 
mony. 

ISTo, as to the extent of Inspiration, I continue to affirm 
the Plenary Inspiration of the Scripture. 

There is but one remaining question I have to ask and 
to seek to answer concerning Inspiration in order to cover 
the ground I have intended in this paper. That question 
is: What was the quality of this Inspiration was 
it only greater in degree, but the same in kind, as that 
which we call speaking too loosely I cannot help think- 
ing the inspiration of men now, of the great poet when 
lie soars and sings, of the great philosopher when he 
thinks, of the great orator when he speaks ? Or if not 
this, was it only greater in degree, but the same in kind, 
as that most benignant and illuminating touch of the Di- 
vine Spirit which is the gracious gift to-day to Christians ? 
Was this Inspiration of the sacred writers similar then to 
these, or was it an Inspiration different both in kind and 
in degree peculiar, unique, solitary, separated by chasm 
widest and deepest from all other sorts of spiritual influ- 



28 QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 

ence which may, by any careless and popular stretch of 
language, be denominated Inspiration ? 

I answer, this Inspiration of the sacred writers was in 
the strictest sense solitary, singular, separate, different by 
complete chasm both in kind and in degree. And I think 
this to be the true answer for these, among many other, 
reasons. 

Because the Bible, the issue of this Inspiration, is so unique. 
"We are so familiar with the wonder that it is stripped 
of its wonder, and yet nothing is more wonderful. Here 
are sixty-six books, stringing along through different ages, 
for a space of nearly two thousand years. Some of them 
written in an age barbarous, some of them written in an 
age of the highest civilization, springing out of the most 
diverse environments, and yet at last brought together, and 
bound together, and constituting the Bible ; and from the 
beginning to the end one unclashing and increasing pur- 
pose runs. In all the world's literature there is not an ap- 
proach to such majestic and unique example. Such dif- 
ference of effect points surely to difference of cause. 

Because, again : The effect of what we ought to call the 
illumination of Christians by the Holy Spirit is different, 
manifestly, from the effect of Inspiration on the sacred 
writers. Illumination by the Holy Spirit of Christians 
now, does not result in giving to Christians new truth 
it only results in rendering vivid to them the truth already 
given. Sanctify them through Thy truth, Thy word is 
truth. Pastor John Robinson was plainly right in telling 
the pilgrims, as they left Delfthaven, that without doubt 
new light would flash upon them ; but he was also, as 
plainly right, in telling them whence it would flash -from 
the Holy Scriptures. He had no thought of any revela- 
tion of new truth, only of the vivider vision of truth al- 
ready revealed. But through the inspiration of the sacred 
writers a vast amount of new truth has been given to the 



QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 29 

world. Since the action of the Holy Spirit in the inspira- 
tion of the sacred writers is thus different in kind of re- 
sult, the inspiration of the sacred writers by the Holy 
Spirit, and the illumination by the Holy Spirit of Chris- 
tians now, must be different in kind. 

Because, again : Only as difference in kind as well as in 
degree of Divine action in the sacred writers is insisted on, 
is it possible to hold the Scripture in its proper place as 
the authoritative rule of faith and practice. Why only to 
the sacred writers should such degree of Divine influence 
be given ? Why is the canon closed, if inspiration of the 
sort of the sacred writers is still possible ? 

And, once more : Because the Scripture itself distinctly 
assures us that there are diversities of operations by the 
same Spirit. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the 
same Spirit ; and there are differences of ministries, but 
the same Lord; and there are diversities of operations, 
but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 

Suppose I say, as I once heard a most intelligent Chris- 
tian say, that wherever the Holy Spirit is, there is Inspi- 
ration. That is true ; but it is only true as I make that 
word Inspiration a word so great and wide that it covers 
all the operations of the Divine Spirit regeneration, sanc- 
tification, illumination, guidance. I cannot say that all 
these are present whenever the Holy Spirit is present, be- 
cause, to the regenerate man the Holy Spirit is not present 
to regenerate, but is present to sanctify. There are differ- 
ences of ministries. I have no right to make that word 
Inspiration so wide a one. It is impossible for me to 
think clearly, or speak clearly, theologically, and do it. 
There are diversities of operations. "For no prophecy 
ever came by the will of man ; but men spake from God, 
being moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter i. 21). Ttaaa 
ypacp?) OeoTtvevffToZ (2 Tim. iii. 16). The only time the 
word "inspired" occurs in the Bible it occurs in connec-* 



30 QUESTIONS CONCERNING INSPIRATION. 

tion with the word translated Scripture. These passages 
seem to me plainly to point to a distinct and diverse op- 
eration of the Holy Spirit toward the writers of the Scrip- 
ture. Both in kind and in degree was the action of the 
Holy 'Spirit different and lonely in the Inspiration of the 
sacred writers. 

Said the suffering Sir Walter Scott to his son-in-law, 
Mr. Lockhart, as Sir Walter lay there, faint and feeble 
amid the thickly-gathering shadows of his last illness 
said he in answer to Mr. Lockhart's question, "What 
book shall I read to you \ " " Why do you ask that ques- 
tion 2 There is but one book. Bring me the Bible." 

There is but one book ; it is the Bible ; and it is, and 
it must remain, the one booJt, because it, and it alone, has 
been given by the Inspiration of the Holy Ghost. 



THE KELATION OF THE GOSPELS AND THE 
PENTATEUCH. 

J. M. STIFLER, D.D. 

THIS topic is somewhat arbitrary. The Bible is one 
complete organism the Old and the New Testaments be- 
ing interlinked and related at every point and page. But 
this vital connection is not methodical or mechanical. 
The roots and the limbs of a tree are one, but it would be 
impossible to say what is the peculiar relation of a partic- 
ular root to a particular branch. The Pentateuch and 
the Gospels are not specially and peculiarly related. The 
one stands toward the other just as the entire Old Testa- 
ment stands toward the New. The parts are related only 
because the whole is. In .discussing, then, the relation 
between the Pentateuch and the Gospels, it is not intended 
that their coincidence is special. A part of the subject is 
considered instead of the whole. 

I. The relation through the genealogical tables in Mat- 
thew and Luke is more profound than it appears at first 
sight. The quiet way in which these tables are introduced 
seems to say that the histories of the Old Testament are 
now simply carried a step further, or, if you please, to 
their sequel and consummation. There is no violent break 
between the Old Testament and the first page of the New, 
either in their spirit or subject. The Gospels are prima- 
rily concerned about Jesus of Nazareth. And the story 
of His life is taken up precisely as that of Abraham in 
the twelfth chapter of Genesis. This chapter is immedi- 
ately preceded by a table, showing Abraham's descent 
from Shem. Shem begat Selah, Selah begat Eber, and 
so on to Nahor, who begat Terah, and Terah lived seventy 

(31) 



32 THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTA TEUCH. 

years and begat Abram. After this, the history of Abra- 
ham is given chapter after chapter. The history of Noah 
and of others is introduced in a similar way. Now prom- 
inently Matthew begins in this Old Testament fashion, 
and as quietly assumes connection, and the same sort of 
connection, with the Old Testament as appears in Moses 
between the previous chapters of his Genesis and the 
twelfth, where he begins the story of Abraham. And 
under this assumption there is another, viz., that Matthew 
is continuing the Old Testament story, so that the two are 
intimately joined. 

The same in large measure is true of Luke, although he 
does not begin his Gospel with the table. "While Mark 
and John have no table, the latter obviously connects his 
Gospel with the first chapter of Genesis by a higher gene- 
alogy. This appears in two things. First, the similarity 
of thought, even of words. Genesis reads : " In the be- 
ginning God created." John says : " In the beginning 
was God." Genesis, in detail, tells how God created all. 
John summarizes: "All things were made by Him." 
Genesis gives the origin of life and light. John says: 
" In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." 
But, secondly, who fails to observe that John throws up 
and forward into such a flood of light that nothing else 
meanwhile appears, the lv apxy, the very first words of 
Genesis in the Septuagint. Observe, too, the same sub- 
lime assertion about " light " and " darkness." The simi- 
larity between the first five verses of Genesis and the first 
five in John cannot be accidental. 

While Mark has no genealogical table, and no other 
sign of immediate connection, does not his abrupt initial 
statement seem to assume as well understood what Mat- 
thew and Luke more formally state ? The Gospels do not 
begin a story, they continue one. "Without the Pentateuch 
they would be each a torso. 



THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTATEUCH. 33 

II. There is an unmistakable relation in subject-matter 
between the Pentateuch and the Gospels. They give the 
same origin of the race Adam ; the same God Jehovah, 
with the same character holy. They deal largely with 
the same nation and a peculiar nation. They trace that 
nation to a common ancestor, Abraham. In a word, the 
Pentateuch and the Gospels have a like relation to a 
circle, first of great moral thoughts, and secondly of his- 
torical incidents interwoven with them. 

And yet these things are but details. To stop here is 
to leave almost wholly out the main subject. The Gospels 
are not treating primarily about Abraham and Moses, 
about law and sacrifice, about precepts and ethical 
principles. They are chiefly concerned about the Christ 
portraitures of Him. 

Says Edersheim, in his preface to the " Life and Times 
of Jesus ": " Rather must the Gospels be regarded as four 
different aspects in which the evangelists viewed the his- 
torical Jesus of Nazareth as the fulfillment of the divine 
promise of old, the Messiah of Israel, and the Saviour of 
men." * This has been the belief of the Church since the 
days of Irenaeus, whose "comparison of the four Gos- 
pels to the four living creatures mentioned in the Apoc- 
alypse " f is well known. The Gospels are not memora- 
bilia, not memoirs. They are a fourfold disclosure of the 
character of Jesus fourfold, shall we say, that our single 
conception may be complete ? But this Jesus is Himself 
the fulfillment of the law, its filling out. " Think not 
that I am come to destroy the law," the Pentateuch. " I 
am not come to destroy, but to fulfill "; to fulfill, shall we 
understand not alone in what He said, but more strikingly 
in what He was ? The law was symbol, He was reality. 
As John writes : " The law was given by Moses, but grace 



* Pref. ad init. t Ellicott's "Life of Christ," pp. 31, 32. 



34 THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTATEUCH. 

and truth came by Jesus Christ." The double antithesis 
in this sentence is instructive. Law is contrasted with 
truth. Then the law is not truth, it is the symbol of it. 
Again, the law was " given," but the truth " came "- 
came to be by Jesus Christ, who says elsewhere : " I am 
the truth." He embodied it in His person, character, and 
life. 

The question now comes to this : The Gospels being a 
portraiture of Christ one homogeneous character stereo- 
scoped, if we may so speak, from the four varying pic- 
tures in what relation does He stand to Moses, or Moses 
to Him? How does He fulfill? He Himself said: 
" Moses wrote of me." How ? Incidentally mentioning 
Him prophetically here and there, dropping symbols of 
Him now and then ; or, when He says, " Moses wrote of 
me," does He speak comprehensively, intending to say 
Moses wrote of nothing else that the outline and sub- 
stance of the Pentateuch are wholly about Christ ? This 
is a question that only a volume can answer. And no 
volume satisfactorily considers it. The Pentateuch has 
not yet received its profoundest study. When it is no 
longer considered merely as history, but also as Gospel, a 
shadow of the truth, light will begin, to break forth. It 
does relate most intimately to Christ. " A righteousness 
of God hath been manifested " in Jesus Christ " being 
witnessed by the law." 

Dr. Alfred Cave, speaking of the difficulties presented 
to a devout mind by the Old Testament symbols, goes on 
as follows : u But immediately the Jewish and Christian 
theories are compared, these stumbling-blocks are the very 
things which prove most conclusively the fact of a com- 
mon architect. The priesthood has its rationale in the 
'priest forever,' the tabernacle in the incarnation, the 
atonement by blood, in Calvary, the non-dissected feast in 
the great Paschal Lamb, the passover in the daily appro- 



THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTA TEUCH. 35 

priation of the merits of a crucified Jesus, the Feast of 
Ingathering in the dispensation of the Spirit, the Feast of 
Tabernacles in the rejoicing of the saints through Christ. 
And these resemblances, which must have been pre- 
ordained, are innumerable." * A connection of this sort 
between the old covenant and the new must be admitted. 

But what is lacking here, and what nothing but the pro- 
found and devout study of the most evangelic mind can 
hope to find, is the kind of relation between the two, the 
comprehensive principle underlying the Pentateuch that 
explains its form and substance, and accounts for these 
" resemblances which are innumerable." 

When such a relation of subject and substance is once 
sufficiently clear, two beneficent results immediately ap- 
pear : First, in the line of apologetics. The attack upon 
the Old Testament to-day is critical. It is not rational- 
istic or mythical. It takes up the Books of the Old Tes- 
tament, examines and compares their contents, and at- 
tempts to condemn them on their own showing. Kuenen 
strives to prove that the Pentateuch was written by the 
Jewish priests, about the time of the return from the exile 
not all at once, of course, but that it reached its final 
form at this date ; that the object was to secure their own 
office as priests of the nation ; that Deuteronomy was 
written first, Genesis last, and the rest meantime. The 
priests had already gained such a place in the political 
and religious life of the nation at the time of its return 
from the exile that they could perpetrate this fraud suc- 
cessfully. For effect, the whole was ascribed to Moses, who, 
many years before, had led their ancestors in a migration ; 
who had given them some rudimentary precepts, now 
wrought out in the Ten Commandments, and some 
method of sacrifice, and who had a traditionary reputa- 



* Princeton Review for 1879, Vol. I., page 614. 



36 THE GOSPELS AND THE PENT A TEUCH. 

tion. ]N~ow this theory is not unreasonable. It is appar- 
ently supported by many facts, cited by its earnest advo- 
cates from the Old Testament itself. These citations are 
being reweighed. The higher criticism will be confronted 
with its own methods. 

It is shown already that the date fixed for the composi- 
tion is untenable. The Samaritans have a Pentateuch. 
Where did they obtain it ? The enmity between them and 
the Jews arose about this time. If they did not possess 
this long before this date, they never would have accepted 
it from the Jews afterward.* But there is a quicker and 
no less effective way to meet these theories. The Mor- 
mon elders to-day might write a fivefold book as the 
documentary source of their entire religious and domestic 
system. For effect, they might ascribe it to Solomon, who 
worshipped in a temple and had numerous wives, and, 
however absurd, the people might be persuaded to accept 
it as a revelation from God, because it explained in large 
measure their system. 

Such a book might be embellished with numerous cases 
of prophecy and accounts of subsequent fulfillment 
adorned with miracle and with many instances of provi- 
dential interference. Even incongruities, absurdities, and 
immoralities might find place in its pages, which a rude, 
uncritical age and people would not detect. 

It would pass down the Mormon national current for 
five hundred years, its credibility constantly increasing in 
the flow of time until some learned Kuenen skilled in 
criticism should finally lay bare its fraudulent origin and 
its contradictory character. Such a book might be written 
in such a way. The case is supposable. 

But what now, if at the end of this time a man should 



* "Kecent Theories of the Pentateuch," British Quarterly, 
January, 1884. 



THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTA TEUCH. 37 

arise, unique in character, holy in life and purpose, so like 
and yet so unlike men, that they could not decide whether 
he was human or divine ; and what now, also, if it were 
found that this very Mormon book was the only book that 
described and predicted this man : that all contradictions, 
stories, rites, and laws met in that good man in a harmony 
like that which exists only between cipher and key, so that 
his life made the book significant ? This case is not sup- 
posable. A book so written could not anticipate a life so 
lived. And yet this is substantially what Kuenen has 
supposed. His theory, swathed with vast learning, de- 
mands the belief that the post-exilian " sopherim," to use 
the half contemptuous word of Rev. S. Baring-Gould,* 
palmed a fraud upon the Jews of their age a fraud that 
turns out a few centuries later to be a marvelously exact 
pre-delineation of -the Messiah, that a book whose source 
and substance are fraud, was fulfilled by a person whose 
every deed, and thought, and breath was holy. Now es- 
tablish the relation between Moses and the Gospels, and 
the theories of the rationalistic, of the mythical, and of the 
critical schools fall mole ruit sua never to rise. That 
fraudulent priests should prove to be most famous prophets 
this, man cannot be persuaded to believe. Indeed, the 
continuity between the first five books of the Bible and 
the four Gospels is already so apparent in so many points 
as to furnish a sufficient argument against the critical 
theory. The " charcoal sketch " in the Pentateuch is so 
exactly like the divine portrait in the Gospels, that candor 
readily admits that but one mind conceived both, and but 
one hand drew both. 

But, secondly, the adequate unfolding of the relation 
between Moses and the Gospels has vast horniletic value. 
To establish that relation will give authority to the types 



''Some Modern Difficulties," page 106. 



38 THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTATEUCH. 

and symbols of the Pentateuch. The marrow, the very 
soul of the Gospel, is in them. 

It is there as it is nowhere else. There is a vast deal 
there that is nowhere else. But these types are distrusted, 
and their authority questioned until their vital connection 
with Christ is admitted, until it is seen that He is in them 
and they in Him. 

The disciples could make nothing of the parable : " The 
kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man who sowed good 
seed in his field, but while men slept, his enemy came and 
sowed tares" the disciples could make nothing of any of 
this until He identified the terms of the parable : " He 
that sowed the good seed is the Son of man ; the field is 
the world, the good seed are the children of the kingdom," 
etc. What authority could the parable have had until He 
set its bounds ? It left us on a trackless ocean without 
star or compass. And so it is with the types, symbols, and 
ceremonies of Moses. Uncertainty allows them to grow 
effete, but when their vital and exact relation to the Gos- 
pel is discovered, they become authoritative and widely 
instructive. 

It is hazarding little to say that there is vastly more 
Gospel in Moses than in the Gospels. The soul of the 
Gospel is divine atonement for sin. How little of atone- 
ment we have in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. How 
very, very much of it symbolically in Moses ! Now, be- 
sides all else that our adorable Lord is, He is certainly the 
key to Moses. " I came to fulfill," He said. 

He Himself directs us to Moses to learn of Himself. 
The key is the vital thing for admission to the treasure- 
house, but it is not the house. The Gospels give admis- 
sion to the Pentateuch, which is rich in Gospel stores. 

There would have been no Gospel in the lily's spotless 
white, if Jesus had not pointed to it as the work of God. 
But now the flowers of the field bloom fragrant with 



THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTATEUCH. 39 

truth. We could have seen no Gospel, either in the fall- 
ing or the feeding sparrow, if Jesus had not indicated it. 
And now all this lesson is there as it is nowhere else. We 
might never have dreamed that there is Gospel in the 
constitution of the family. But now every pulse of pa- 
rental affection says it cannot possibly be so said by any 
other voice " If ye, being evil, know how to give good 
gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father 
which is in heaven give good things to them that ask 
Him ? " And now, just so when Christ is seen linked with 
these Old Testament symbols a rejected Joseph, a curious 
tabernacle, a bleeding or a burning ox, a goat led into the 
wilderness, and all the rest of which there is so much 
they come to us in as authoritative lessons as the flowers 
of the field or the fowls of the heavens, and like them 
preach as no other voice can or does. 

The irreverence and, perhaps, the aim of the higher 
criticism must be deprecated as it is at present behaving. 
But in the end, a devout exegesis will find itself greatly 
indebted to it. It was the enemy who taught Israel of 
old the glory and comfort of their own monotheistic, non- 
idolatrous code politically; and perhaps the enemy is 
again divinely intended to teach us the value of the doc- 
uments of that same code theologically. And when that 
value is ascertained, and the relation between the old cov- 
enant and the new broadly established, the Pentateuch 
will no longer be called an effete book, nor will it be sup- 
posed to be so inferior to the Gospels. They are not 
related as new and old, not even as fountain and broad 
flowing stream, but rather as material and model. When 
the Israelite in the wilderness saw the accumulating piles 
of material that finally went into the erection of his tab- 
ernacle, what could he make of that unorganized mass \ 
With both boards and curtains it was stuff for neither a 
house nor a tent. But to Moses, who had seen the pattern 



40 THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTATEUCH. 

in the mount, that pattern explained every curtain and 
board, every nail and rod, every loop and tach, while yet 
lying in a disorderly heap. The Gospels are to the law 
what that pattern was to the material intended to re- 
alize it. The Gospel becomes a complete temple of wor- 
ship when it is erected with all the material furnished by 
the law. 

III. The Gospels and the Law are related by means of 
direct quotation and reference. According to Turpie* 
there are just one hundred quotations in the Gospels from 
the Old Testament, thirty-eight of which, or twelve less 
than one-half, are from the Pentateuch. The greater 
number of these are made, or commented on, by Jesus 
himself. Besides these quotations there are about forty 
allusions or references, more or less direct, in the Gospels 
to the Pentateuch about forty, if the list in Davidson's 
"Hermeneutics" f was correctly counted. These quotations 
have provoked much study, and have given rise to more 
than one learned volume, the latest of which is by Craw- 
ford Ho well Toy, professor in Harvard University. 

The discussion of this particular relation between the 
New Testament and the Old brings us again face to face 
with Jesus. 

What is His authority as an interpreter of the Penta- 
teuch ? Or, if we are to meet the Neologians, what is His 
ability in interpretation ? Some would hesitate to bring 
Jesus into this controversy at all. 

Dr. George T. Ladd, of Yale College, in his recently 
published work, \ warns against what he calls " the peril- 
ous venture of committing the honesty and competency 
of Christ to every detail of the contents " of the Old Tes- 
tament. It is a greater peril to refuse to call the most 



* " The New Testament View of the Old. " f Page 510. 

\ "The Doctrine of the Sacred Scriptures," page 34. 



THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTATEUCH. 41 

competent witness. Any honest reader of the Gospels 
must admit that He did in some sense indorse Moses. 

There is a peril, however, and it is a great one, in com- 
mitting Him to our view, of the teaching of either Testa- 
ment. It lurks in a lazy assumption that He has done for 
us what evidently He intended we should do for ourselves 
by earnest study and the cultivation of a devout spiritual 
insight. He came, not to interpret in detail, or at all. 
All that He did do in this field is purely incidental. 
He came to fulfill the Old Testament Scriptures. It 
is ours to interpret and to show the profound 'meaning 
and measure of that fulfillment. But how is that to be 
done without bringing Him into this question? And 
whatever may be thought of the inexpediency of com- 
mitting Jesus on this point, we have no choice left. He 
comes in necessarily. He was long ago brought in. Loy- 
alty to Him will not call it inexpedient to defend Him 
when assailed. 

Either to avoid or to preserve the divine authority, but 
more likely because Jesus' words crossed his views, John 
Solomon Semler, professor in Halle, gave currency more 
than a century ago (he died in 1797) to the so-called "Ac- 
commodation Theory." * Although the theory is gener- 
ally assigned to Semler, he did not invent it. " It was a 
favorite," says Alexander, of the followers of Des Cartes 
in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Its complex- 
ion would suggest an origin still nearer the dark ages. 

This " impious theory " long ago brought Jesus face to 
face with this question. It is not a " favorite," however, 
of living Neologians, as may be seen in Professor Toy's 
book, who nevertheless is confronted by Jesus and seeks 



* See W. L. Alexander's ' ' Connection and Harmony of the 
Old and New Testaments, " page 148; and Davidson's "Herme- 
neutics," page G94. 



42 THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTATEUCH. 

to nullify His testimony thus : " We must compare them 
(the quotations) with the original passages, interpreted ac- 
cording to what we hold to be the best canons of herme- 
neutical science. The comparison must be made with all 
caution, humility, and reverence, but the science of her- 
meneutics must be the final authority, even if it should 
seem to us to come in conflict with Him As an in- 
dividual man, He had of necessity a definite, restricted, in- 
tellectual outfit and outlook, and these could be only those 

of His day and generation ^.s teacher of spiritual 

truth sent from God and full of God, He is universal ; as 
logician and critic, He belongs to His times." * 

In the same strain Rothe declares : " The Redeemer 
never claimed to be an infallible or even a generally pre- 
cise interpreter of the Old Testament. Indeed, He could 
not have made this claim ; for interpretation is essentially 
a scientific function, and one conditioned by the existence 
of scientific means, which, in relation to the Old Testa- 
ment, were only imperfectly at the command of Jesus, as 
well as of His contemporaries." f All of which would be 
ridiculous, if it were not so offensive in its self-conceit, 
viz. : that Jesus, Son of God, was not as competent to 
judge of the truthfulness of words which He quoted from 
the Old Testament as are Drs. Toy and Rothe, because, 
forsooth, He had not the "scientific means" which 
are in the hands of His critics in Harvard University 
and Gotha. How much He might have learned from 
an adequate modern library ! The bald accommodation 
theory would rob Jesus of His moral character. The 
critical theory would steal His credentials as an ac- 
credited teacher from God, eclipse His divinity, shackle 



"Quotations in the New Testament," pp. 28, 29. 
t Quoted from Zur Dogmatik, Gotha, 18G3, in Ladd's "Doc. 
of Sacred Scriptures," p. 28. 



THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTATEUCH. 43 

and limit Him by the narrow critical knowledge of His 
time, and make Him so far but a poor human scribe, vastly 
more incapable of telling what was true or false in the 
book He so often quoted, than are these men so learned in 
hermeneutical science. While Athanasius, Balthazer Hub- 
meyer, Koger Williams, and hundreds of others could be 
in sharpest antithesis with the current of interpretation 
about them, standing like rocks against it, Jesus " belongs 
to His own times "; the feeble creation of His age ! May 
grace not fail where there is such sore need of patience. 
He who said, "Moses wrote of me"; He who said, " Not 
one jot or tittle shall pass from the law till all be ful- 
filled "; He who said, " Had ye believed Moses ye would 
have believed me "; He who said, " If ye believe not his 
writings, how shall ye believe my words ? " He is to be 
distrusted in all this, although He also solemnly declared : 
" Even as the Father said unto me, so I speak." He 
averred : " The. word which ye hear is not mine, but the 
Father's which sent me." And one cannot help asking, 
though the question may belong only to the realm of a 
prayer-meeting, What is that conception of the ineffable, 
adorable Son of the Father of Him who said, " He that 
hath seen me hath seen the Father"? what is the con- 
ception of Him when men virtually say He quoted the 
Scriptures in as much ignorance as the scribe of His day? 
Hermeneutical science is invaluable in interpretation. But 
a little religion does not come amiss either, the reverence 
which, in heart-broken penitence for blinding, misleading 
sin, owns before Him that "the foolishness of God is 
wiser than men." 

Dr. Ladd says : "A quasi ethical preparation is an in- 
dispensable requirement," when men are about to ask, 
"What did Christ teach as to the nature of the Old 
Testament Scriptures \ " Ah, it must be more than quasi 
ethical. It must have more than " caution, humility, and 



4A THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTATEUCH. 

reverence." It must be deeply inter-shot and informed 
by the Spirit of God. Says Prof. C. A. Briggs 2 
" Through the avenues of Scripture we go to find Christ 
in their centre we find our Saviour. It is this personal 
relation of the Author of the entire Scripture to the in- 
terpreter that enables him truly to understand the divine 
things of the Scripture. Jesus Christ know the Old 
Testament and interpreted it as one who knew the mind 
of God. He needed no helps to climb the pyramids of 
interpretation. He was born and ever lived at the sum- 
mit." * In the same strain he declares : " The doctrine 
that the Holy Spirit is the supreme interpreter of Scrip- 
ture is the highest attainment of interpretation." It is 
unquestionably true that piety will not answer for a lack 
of the knowledge of Greek. Prayer cannot take the 
place of an acquaintance with Hebrew. But piety and 
prayer will give a vastly better knowledge of the Bible 
than any one can attain through hermeneutical science 
without these. " I thank Thee, Father, Lord of heaven 
and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the 
wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes " 
(Mat. xi. 25). 

The chief thing to be noticed in the quotations is that 
they are frequently transferred in words, sometimes even 
in a sense foreign to the original. They are not often 
made, with verbal exactness. 

The prophet represents the Lord as saying : " I will 
send my messenger before me." This is quoted : " I send 
my messenger before thee." l!s~ow reduce all the Bible 
penmen to mere scribes, insist that these books must be 
interpreted just as other books are, and this feature of 
quotation cannot be explained. Professor Toy says em- 
phatically : " The Old Testament is to be made its own 



* "Biblical Study " (1883), page 364. 



THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTA TEUCH. 45 

interpreter." He says the prophet writes with no vague- 
ness. He has in mind a definite picture, and " describes 
it in clear words." * Of course the New Testament is to 
be interpreted in the same fashion. But. now, if quota- 
tions are not brought in their contextual sense and in their 
own words from one Testament to the other, the science 
of hermeneutics must protest, and he who made the quo- 
tation must be regarded as the victim of his times, con- 
ditioned and limited by rabbinic exegesis. Professor 
Toy's method defeats itself. He seems to protest 
against a mechanical fulfillment of particular predictions, 
but when he takes these up as quotations he seems to find 
fault because they are not mechanically transferred. Her- 
meneutics can never compass the movements of that liv- 
ing Spirit which breathes both in the Old Testament and 
in the New, who transfers His own words from one to 
another in a way that shows He is a vital power and not a 
dead something. The Spirit is the author of the Penta- 
teuch. It is not Moses. Any Sunday-school teacher can 
show that Jesus used His own words, the very same words 
now in this sense, now in that, and again in a third, f and 
cannot any living spirit do the same? Has the Holy 
Spirit no ability to show what He does mean by His ut- 
terances ? Can He use words but in one way and in one 
sense ? Suppose that He of whom it is said in the Gos- 
pels, " I send my messenger before thee," was the very 
one who said it in Malachi. Suppose that he who quoted 
had a distinct consciousness of this and wished to identify 
the two, would not that account for the change in the 
pronoun, and make it strikingly significant? The very 
fact that the quotations in the Gospels are independent 
and free, following sometimes neither the letter nor the 



* " Quotations," page xxvi. 

t e. g., Matthew vii. 2; Mark iv. 24; Luke vi. 38. 



46 THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTATEUCH. 

sense of the original context, is a substantial proof that 
they who quote are independent not bound to the letter 
as were the scribes, but men with living authority equal to 
them who wrote the Old Testament. The evangelists 
were not slavish copyists, but original writers, with minds 
moved and informed by God's Spirit. 

"But," says the Biblical critic, "this is the question at 
issue : were any of these men inspired ? Criticism must 
settle that question." It cannot. It might as well at- 
tempt to measure the heat of the sun with a tape-line. 
The thing is not adapted. The form and fashion of the 
tabernacle were inspired. But who would think either of 
proving or disproving it by the v science of modern archi- 
tecture? Noah's ark was created in obedience to in- 
spiration. Can nautical science prove or disprove it ? 

God's words do not whisper their secret to science. 
When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you. 
God interprets His own Word. It does not interpret it- 
self. God's words are spirit and life, and the critical scal- 
pel has no function until life has ceased. 

And now since Jesus " taught as one having authority, 
and not as the scribes"; since, as Professor Briggs says, 
" Jesus Christ knew the Old Testament and interpreted it 
as one who knew the mind of God," His quotations from 
it are worthy of the profoundest regard. To be sure, He 
never professed to be a textual critic. He accepted and 
taught the Pentateuch as He found it. But His frequent 
quotations from and references to it, show His estimate of 
its value and trustworthiness. The}^ come to Him with 
the question : " Is it lawful for a man to put away his 
wife for every cause?" declaring, at the same time, that 
Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement and to put 
her away. "And Jesus answered and said unto them: 
For the hardness of your heart He wrote you this pre- 
cept, but from the beginning of the creation God made 



THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTATEUCH. 47 

them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave 
his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and they 
twain shall be one flesh. What, therefore, God hath joined 
together let not man put asunder." Now here are a 
number of things said directly and implicitly. First, Je- 
sus says Moses wrote the precept of divorce. Again, He 
says God made them male and female from the beginning 
of the creation, which implicitly declares that He made 
the first pair, indorsing thus the Mosaic story of the crea- 
tion of Adam and Eve. He implies also that they were 
the " beginning " of His creation of men. His method of 
intrepretation is also indicated, that specified creation is 
also legislation, that what God does, interprets what He 
says. Now, Jesus has not said that the first and the 
second chapters of Genesis are inspired, but He both re- 
fers to and quotes them as indicative of the divine will 
'on one of the most momentous of ethical questions. If 
. He used them as an embodiment of the divine will, we 
may. If He calls that story the beginning of creation, it 
is safe to deny that there were pre-Adamites. If He 
quoted Genesis as the divine reason for monogamy, we 
may. If that story of the institution of the marriage re- 
lation is not true, if it had no existence before the days of 
Ezra's scribes, there is no divine authority for monogamy ; 
Jesus gave no other ground for that authority than the ac- 
count which Moses writes. 

In Mark we have a quotation from Exodus xx. 12 and 
xxi. 16, introduced by the word Moses. Moses said : 
" Honor thy father and thy mother, and whosoever curseth 
father or mother let him die the death." But Matthew 
(xv. 3), in reporting this same occurrence, represents 
Jesus as saying: "For God commanded, saying, Honor 
thy father," etc. What one ascribes to Moses, the other 
ascribes to God. No doubt Jesus used both introductions 
to the quotation, of which Matthew selects one and Mark 



48 THE GOSPELS AND THE PENTATEUCH. 

the other. But this need not be pressed. If we had Mat- 
thew alone, it would be equally apparent that Jesus gave 
divine authority to Moses' words. 

What a marvelous story is that of the destruction of 
the cities of the plain. And to what else does Jesus refer 
when He says : " It shall be more tolerable for Sodom in 
the day of judgment than for thee' ? (Capernaum)? To 
what else does He allude when He warns believers, " Re- 
member Lot's wife " ? He who could speak confidently of 
the future, the judgment, was probably textual critic suffi- 
cient to assure us that this story d?d not arise as Kuenen 
suggests. 

They came to Him with a perplexing question about 
the resurrection. A woman had outlived seven successive 
husbands. In the resurrection whose wife should she be ? 
And what is His answer ? " Now that the dead are raised, 
even Moses showed at the bush when he called the Lord 
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of 
Jacob." Here Moses is quoted as an authority on the 
question. Mark's account reads: "And as touching the 
dead that they rise, have ye not read in the book of Moses 
how in the bush God spake unto him, saying : I am the 
God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of 
Jacob ? " Here, again, what is credited to Moses in one 
place is ascribed to God in another. Several other points 
are noteworthy one approaching, incidentally of course, 
textual criticism. First, he indorses the curious story of 
the theophany in the bush. Secondly, he confirms the 
chronological order of these characters in the Pentateuch 
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses. Thirdly, he ascribes the 
Pentateuch to the Lawgiver, "Have ye not read in the 
book of Moses ? " 

It is needless to enlarge on other quotations. No one 
can fail to remember how He Himself, " beginning at 
Moses and all the prophets, expounded to them in all the 



THE GOSP&LS AND THE PENTATEUCH. 49 

Scriptures the things concerning Himself"; how He de- 
clared, " As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in 
the days of the Son of man " (if the higher criticism is 
correct, candor must have compelled Him to say here, "As 
it is reputed to have been in the alleged days of Noah ") ; 
how He said, " One jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass 
from the law till all be fulfilled"; how in His dying 
agony He confessed His thirst, that these same Scriptures 
on this point might be fulfilled. He may have paid no 
attention to criticism, but with all these allusions of His 
from the beginning of the divine story on through, touch- 
ing so many chapters, indorsing Moses not only in general, 
but in numerous particulars, it is safe to use His own 
words against His critics : The Scriptures cannot be 
broken. " Hengstenberg," says Alfred Cave,* " made a 
collection of incidental declarations in which his oppo- 
nents betrayed or confessed that their piece de resistance 
was an initial disaffection toward the supernatural. It 
was a bold stroke, and one requiring some courage, to 
charge their unbelief with their opposition. Christian 
faith does not circumscribe the activity of God by the 
operations of natural law. A spiritual realm moves and 
molds, and sometimes breaks through the natural. Let 
men believe first in the present, living God. Those who 
have felt the quickening thrill of His nearness, who have 
been humbled in heart and intellect under the hourly 
sense of His gracious forgiveness of their sins, will not 
find the difficulties in His "Word discovered by cold study, 
animated only by " Zeitgeist " rather than by the Holy 
Ghost. He will not stumble at the supernatural who has 
thus experienced it in his own soul, in whose conscious- 
ness it is a daily reality. 



* Princeton Review, May, 1879, page 593. 



THE TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO 
ITSELF. 

GEORGE S. BISHOP, D.D. 

THE Bible is the very handwriting of God ! Suppose 
I believe that. Suppose, instead of Luke and John and 
Paul and Peter, I behold in overawed imagination " God 
grasping the pen " and setting down the sentences, the 
words, the jots and tittles every stroke of it ; does riot 
that fix me ? does not that arrest me ? does not that de- 
termine, shape, and mould me, as no conviction other, 
lesser, can? 

That is the Anchor to which, by twisting a few honest 
strands, I would help, if I may, to rebind our cables. 
When we were resting quietly inside of Sandy Hodk, 
our own ship and others swung round with the tide, but 
none changed its place, for all were well anchored. The 
ships of sentiment are swinging loose to-day, and with the 
counter tide. That has been, and it will be, again and 
again, so long as human opinion is the vacillating and 
uncertain thing it is. But we need not fear, for the old 
anchor holds as firm, as steady, as inflexible as ever. 
That anchor back of all departures, heresies, and fluc- 
tuations is the literal, direct, Divine inspiration, on the 
original parchments, of the Word of God. 

We cannot consent to see in the Bible the pens nor the 
penmen ; but, undistractedly, the Master Intellect, which 
everywhere directs each thought. We must maintain 
with Justin Martyr, with Chrysostom, and with Theophi- 
lus of Antioch, the illustration of that " harp" on whicji 
(50) 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 51 

the Spirit breathes, " the strings of which He touches to 
evoke each vital tone." We must "adore" with Athe-. 
nagoras " the Being who has harmonized the strains, who 
leads the melody, and not the instrument on which He 
plays. What umpire at the Games," he cries, u omits the 
Minstrel while he crowns the lyre ? " 

The mistake of moderns, and especially of recent mod- 
erns, has been " crowning the lyre." The whole ques- 
tion of Inspiration has, within the last half century, been 
made to turn upon the writers. It has been unhinged 
from those stanchions on which St. Paul makes it turn 
the Writings themselves. 

This misdirection of thought would seem to be much 
like that of the boy who stands at the end of the tele- 
graph line and gets a message from his father (" 1 have 
written to him the great things of My Law"), and who, 
instead of taking the message as direct, authoritative, 
final, goes to work to discuss the posts, the wires, elec- 
tricity, the key-board, the touch of the finger, the process. 
His business is simply to heed and obey. 

The doctrine of direct, dictated, verbal Inspiration 
that everything in the Bible was set down by the linger 
of God has these five things in its favor : 

1. It is the^Vstf, original, and oldest doctrine. 

2. It is the simplest doctrine. 

3. It is the imdeviating doctrine which has proved the 
bulwark of the Church of God. Defended in the earli- 
est centuries by men like Athenagoras and St. Augustine 
defended still by men like WicklifFe, Huss, and Luther 
in the struggles which led in the Reformation and, in 
post -Reformation times, defended; by men like the Bux- 
torfs, John Owen, John Gill, and Gaussen it has been 
the one, consistent, inexpugnable, permanent doctrine from 
the beginning. Scripture sunlight to the sun is the 



52 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

untarnishable radiance of God. What it says, God 
says. 

4. A fourth fact is the logical impossibility of any 
other counter position. " If we do not take direct Inspi- 
ration," says Waller, "what we are to take is not so 
clear." If we begin to admit inequalities in Revelation, 
where shall we stop ? If we turn our attention away 
from the writing to occupy ourselves with the writer 
his genius, his knowledge, the amount of assistance re- 
quired who does not see that this descent from heaven 
to earth, from the high Himalaya of the Divine to the 
low, marshy ground of the creatural human, must tend 
to gravitate, to minimize, and more and more, until your 
Bible is reduced to Shakespeare or (who knows ?) to Bret 
Harte. The fabricators of degrees in Inspiration the 
men who so self-confidently set forth to us their four 
classes, the inspirations of " elevation," of " superin- 
tendence," of u suggestion," of " direct dictation," tell 
us themselves that the last is the highest. Ah well ! we 
will choose we will cling to that highest. Why not ? 
If dictation anywhere in any one instance, then dicta- 
tion all the way through. If not, why not ? Where are 
the limits? Where shall we stop? Suppose certain 
words in the Scripture only a few to be put there by 
God. Suppose this admitted, and it is admitted who 
shall define the number of those words ? Who shall as- 
sume to stand up and tell us where God the Holy Ghost ex- 
presses Himself in the very form of the word and where He 
retires from the word and leaves it a shell merely human ? 

The difficulties attaching to any other view of Inspira- 
tion than the Verbal are simply overwhelming. Suppose 
that something, no matter how little whatever you please 
be left to the writers themselves, and who shall satisfy 
us that nothing essential has been omitted, nothing irrele- 
vant or trifling has been emphasized, nothing inaccurate 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 53 

has been set down ? Who does not see that, so, inspira- 
tion is utterly lost ? 

5. And that leads, logically, up to the climacteric position, 
that we must hold to Verbal Inspiration, or if not, at last 
give up the Bible. What other result can there be ? Is 
not this just what it comes back to " I receive what ap- 
peals to my likings, I repudiate what I dislike " ? In 
other words, I make my consciousness my arbiter my 
prejudice, my Book and my self-will, my God. 

The subject which has fallen to my lot in this discussion 
is, The Testimony of the Scriptures to themselves their 
own self-evidence the overpowering, unparticipated wit- 
ness that they bring. 

Permit me to expand this witness under the following 
heads : 

I. Immortality. 
II. Authority. 
III. Transcendent Doctrine. 
IY. Direct Assertion. 

Y. The Casket of the Gem the very Language in 
which Revelation is enshrined. 

I. Immortality " I have written ! " All other books 
die. " Most of the libraries are cemeteries of dead books." 
The vast perennial literature falls as the leaves fall, and 
perishes as they perish. Few old books survive, and 
fewer of those that survive have any influence. Even to 
scholars the names of Epictetus and Lucretius of the 
Novum Organum of the Nibelungen Lied, convey noth- 
ing more than a title. They have heard of those books 
have skimmed a page or two here and there, that is all. 
Most of the books we quote from have been written with- 
in the last three or even one hundred years. 

But here is a book whose antemundane voices had grown 
old, when voices spake in Eden. A book which has sur- 



54 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

vived not only with continued but increasing lustre, vitality, 
vivacity, popularity, rebound of influence. A book which 
avalanches itself with accretions, like the snowball that 
packs as it goes. A book which comes through all the 
shocks without a wrench, and all the furnaces of all the 
ages like an iron safe with every document in every 
pigeon-hole, without a warp upon it, or the smell of fire. 
Here is a book of which it may be said, as of Immortal 
Christ Himself " Thou hast the dew of thy youth from 
the womb of the morning." A book dating from days as 
ancient as those of the Ancient of Days and which when 
all that makes up what we see and call the universe shall 
be dissolved, will still speak on in thunder-tones of majes- 
ty, and whisper-tones of light and music-tones of love 
for it is wrapping in itself the everlasting past and open- 
ing and expanding from itself the everlasting future ; and, 
like an all-irradiating sun, will still roll on, while deathless 
ages roll, the one unchanging, unchangeable Revelation 
of God. 

II. Immortality is on these pages, and Authority sets 
here her seal. This is the second point. A Standard. 

Useless to talk about no standard. Nature points to 
one. Conscience cries out for one conscience which 
without a law constantly wages the internal and excruci- 
ating war of accusing or else excusing itself. 

There must be a Standard and an Inspired Standard 
for Inspiration is the Essence of Authority r , and authority 
is in proportion to Inspiration the more Inspired the 
greater the authority the less, the less. Even the ra- 
tionalist Rothe, a most intense opponent, has admitted 
that " that in the Bible which is not the product of direct 
inspiration has no binding power." 

Verbal and direct Inspiration is, therefore, the <c Ther- 
mopylae " of Biblical and Scriptural faith. No breath, no 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 55 

syllable ; no syllable, no word ; no word, no Book ; no 
Book, no religion. 

We hold, from first to last, that there can be no possi- 
ble advance in Revelation no new light. What was 
written at first, the same thing stands written to-day, and 
will stand forever. The Bible, the true fact beneath the 
Grecian myth, springs into light Minerva-like, full 
armed. The emanation of the mind of God it is 
complete, perfect. " Nothing can be put to it, nor any- 
thing taken from it." Its ipse dixit is peremptory final. 

What can be more awful, more stupendous than the 
sanction which rounds up the- Book, by which it is se- 
cured and sealed and guarded ? " If any man shall add 
unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues 
that are written in this Book : and if any man shall take 
away from the words of the Book of this prophecy, God 
shall take away his part out of the Book of life, and out 
of the Holy City, and from the things which are written 
in this Book." 

The Bible is the Word of God, and not simply CON- 
TAINS it. This is clear, 

Because all the words in it, even those of the Devil and 
of wicked men, were put down by the finger of God. 

Because the Bible styles itself the Word of God. 
" The Word of the Lord is right," says the Psalmist. 
Again, u Thy Word is a lamp to my feet." " Where- 
withal shall a young man cleanse his way ? By taking 
heed thereto according to Thy Word" " The grass with- 
ereth," says Isaiah, " the flower thereof fadeth, but the 
Word of our God shall stand forever." 

Not only is the Bible called the Word of God, but 
it is distinguished from all other books by "that very title. 
It is so distinguished in the 119th Psalm, and every- 
where the contrast between it and every human book is 
deepened and sustained. 



56 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

If we will not call the Bible the Word of God, then 
wo cannot call it anything else. If we insist upon a de- 
scription rigorously exact and unexposed to shafts of wan- 
ton criticism, then the Book remains anonymous. We 
cannot more consistently say " Holy Scripture," because 
the crimes recorded on its pages are not holy ; because 
expressions like " Curse God and die," and others from 
the lips of Satan and of wicked men, are unholy. The 
Bible, however, is "holy," because its aim and its meth- 
ods are holy. The Bible, like wise, is the Word of God, 
because it comes from God ; because its every word was 
penned by God ; because it is the only exponent of God ; 
the only rule of His procedure, and the Book by which 
we must at last be judged. 

1. The Bible is authority because in it, from cover to 
cover, God is the speaker. Said a leader of our so-called 
orthodoxy to a crowded audience but a little while ago : 
" The Bible is true. Any man not a fool must believe 
what is true. What difference does it make who wrote 
it?" 

This difference, brethren : the solemn bearing down of 
God on the soul ! My friend may tell me what is true ; 
my wife may tell me what is true ; but what they say is 
not solemn. Solemnity comes in when God looks into 
my face God ! and behind Him everlasting destiny 
and talks with me about my soul. In the Bible GOD 
speaks, and GOD is listened to, and men are born again by 
God's Word. " He is not a Christian who believes 
or obeys Matthew or John or Peter or Paul." What 
makes a Christian is believing and obeying God. " So 
then Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word 
of God." It is God? s Revelation that faith hears, and it 
is on God revealed that faith rests. 

2. The Bible is the Word of God. It comes to us an- 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 57 

nounced l>y miracles and heralded with fire. Take the 
Old Testament Mt. Sinai ; take the New Testament 
Pentecost. Would God himself stretch out His hand 
and write on tables in the giving, and send down tongues 
of fire for the proclamation of a Kevelation, every parti- 
cle and shred of which was not His own ? In other 
words, would He work miracles and send down tongues 
of fire to signalize a work merely human, or even partly 
human and partly Divine ? How unworthy of God, how 
impious, how utterly impossible the supposition ! 

3. The Bible comes clothed with authority in the high- 
handed and exalted terms of its address. God in the Bi- 
ble speaks out of a whirlwind and with the voice of Eli as. 
What grander proof of literal inspiration can be than in 
the high-handed method and imperative tone of prophets 
and apostles which enabled them poor men, obscure, 
and without an influence ; fishermen, artisans, publicans, 
day-laborers to brave and boldly teach the world from 
Pharaoh and from Nero down ? Was this due to any- 
thing less than God speaking in them to the overpower- 
ing impulse and seizure of God ? Who can believe it ? 
Who is not struck with the power and the wisdom of 
God ? " His words were in my bones," cries one. " I 
could not stay. The lion hath roared, who will not fear ; 
the Lord hath spoken, who can but prophesy ? " 

4. The Bible is the optime of authority, because it is 
from first to last a glorious projection on the widest scale 
of the decrees of God. The sweep of the Bible is from the 
Creation of Angels to a new heaven and new earth, across 
a lake of fire. What a field for events ! what an ex- 
panse beyond the sweep or even reach of human fore- 
thought, criticism, or co-operation! what a labyrinth 
upon whose least and minutest turning hangs entire 
redemption, since a chain is never stronger than its 
smallest link ! Who, then, will dare to speak till God 



58 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

has spoken ? " I will declare the decree ! " That pushes 
everything aside that makes the declaration an exten- 
sion, so to say, of the Declarer. 

" I will declare the decree ! " When we consider that 
the Bible is an exact projection of the decrees of God into 
the future, this argument is seen to lift, indeed, to a cli- 
max ; and, in fact, it does reach to the very Crux of con- 
troversy ; for ths hardest thing for us to believe about 
God is to believe that He exactly absolutely knows, be- 
cause He has ordained, the future. Every attribute of 
God is easier to grasp than that of an infallible Omnisci- 
ence. " I will declare the decree," therefore, calls for di- 
rect inspiration. 

5. The Bible is the optime of authority, because the 
Hooks at the end of the chain prove the dictated Inspi- 
ration of its every link. Compare the Fall in Genesis 
(one link), with the Resurrection in the Apocalypse the 
other. Compare the Old Creation in the first chapters of 
the Old Testament with the New Creation in the last 
chapters of the New. " We open the first pages of the 
Bible," says Yallotton, " and we find there the recital of the 
creation of the world by the word of God of the fall of 
man, of his exile far from God far from Paradise, and 
far from the tree of life. We open the last pag;es of the 
last of the 66 books dating 4,000 years later. God is still 
speaking. He is still creating. He creates a new heaven 
and a new earth. Man is found there recovered. He is 
restored to communion with God. He dwells again in 
Paradise, beneath the shadow of the tree of life. Who is 
not struck by the strange correspondence of this end with 
that beginning ? Is not the one the prologue, the other 
the epilogue of a drama as vast as unique ? " 

6. The Bible is the optime of authority, because, over 
this vast range of supernatural, confessedly Divine thought, 
purpose, and action, there are no lights, and no explanations. 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 59 

save those furnished ~by the Book itself. That Book must 
be supreme, whose only parallel, comparison, and con- 
firmation is itself. Here is an argumentum ad hominem. 
Why do we not possess concordances for other volumes 
for their very words ? Because in human writings there 
is no such nicety no such Divine significance as makes the 
sense and all the argument turn on the single words, and 
their exact consistency and correspondence everywhere 
throughout the book. 

Your concordance, my brother, every time you take it 
up, speaks loudly to you of the inspiration and authority 
of Holy Writ. It says to you : " Not the Bible only, but 
this word, that word all these single words, are God- 
breathed Divine ! " 

7. Another argument for the supreme authority of 
Scripture, is the character of the investigation challenged 
for the Word of God. The Bible courts the closest scru- 
tiny. Its open pages blaze the legend : " Search the Scrip- 
tures ! " Ereunao " Search." It is a sportsman's term, 
and borrowed from the chase. " Trace out " " track 
out" follow the word in all its usages and windings. 
Scent it out to its remotest meanings, as a dog the hare. 

" They searched," again says St. Luke, in the Acts, of 
the Bereans. There it is another word, ana&rino, " they 
divided up," analyzed, sifted, pulverized, as in a mortar 
to the last thought. 

What a solemn challenge is this ! What book but a 
Divine Book would dare speak such a challenge ? If a 
book has been written by man, it is at the mercy of men. 
Men can go through it, riddle it, sift it, and leave it be- 
hind them, worn out. But the Bible, a Book dropped 
from heaven, is " God-breathed." It swells, it dilates, 
with the" bodying fullness of God, God has written it, 
and none can exhaust it. Apply your microscopes, ap- 
ply your telescopes to the material of Scripture. They 



60 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

separate, but do not fray, its threads. They broaden out 
its nebulae, but iind them clustered stars. They do not 
reach the hint of poverty in Scripture. They nowhere 
touch on coarseness in the fabric, nor on limitations in 
horizon, as always is the case when tests of such a char- 
acter are brought to bear on any work of man's. You 
put a drop of water, or a fly's wing, under a microscope. 
The stronger the lens, the more that drop of water will 
expand, till it becomes an ocean filled with sporting ani- 
malcules. The higher the power, the more exquisite, the 
more silken become the tissues of the fly's wing, until it 
attenuates almost to the golden and gossamer threads of 
a seraph's. So -is it with the Word of God. The more 
scrutiny, the more divinity; the more dissection, the more 
perfection. We cannot bring to it a test too penetrating, 
nor a light too lancinating, nor a touchstone too exacting. 
The Bible is beyond all attempts at exhaustion, not 
only, but comprehension. No human mind can, by search- 
ing, find out the fullness of God. " For what man know- 
eth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is 
in him ? even so the things of God knoweth no man save 
the Spirit of God." 

III. That leads up to the third point. The Scriptures 
testify to their Divine Original by their transcendent doc- 
trine, their outshining light, their native radiance, the 
glow of the Divine, the witness of the Spirit. 

We should expect to find a Book, that came from 
God, pencilled with points of jasper and of sardine stone 
erihaloed with a brightness from the everlasting hills. 
We should look for that about the book which, flashing 
conviction at once, should carry overwhelmingly and ev- 
erywhere, by its bare, naked witness by what it simply 
is. That, just as God, by stretching out a hand to write 
upon the "plaister" of a Babylonian palace, stamped, 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 61 

through mysterious and disjointed words, conviction of 
Divinity upon Belshazzar, and each one of his one thou- 
sand " lords," so, after that same analogue, why not ? 
God should stretch out His hand along the unrolling pal- 
impsests of all the ages, and write upon them larger 
words, which, to the secret recognition of each human soul 
should say, not only, " This is Truth," but " This is Truth, 
God-spoken ! " 

The Bible is the Word of God, because it is the Book 
of Infinites the Revelation of what nature, without it, 
never could have attained, and, coming short of the 
knowledge of which, nature were lost. 

The greatest need of the soul is salvation. It is such a 
knowledge of God as shall assure us of " comfort " here 
and hereafter. Such a knowledge, nature, outside of the 
Bible, does not contain. Everywhere groping in his dark- 
ness, man is confronted by two changeless facts. One, his 
guilt, which, as he looks down, sinks deeper and deeper. 
The other, the Justice of God, which, as he looks up, lifts 
higher and higher. Infinite against Infinite Infinite 
here ; Infinite there no bridge between them ! Nature 
helps to no bridge. It nowhere speaks of Atonement. 

Standing with Uriel in the sun, we launch the propo- 
sition that the Scriptures are Divine in their very mes- 
sage because they deal with three Infinites : Infinite 
Guilt ; Infinite Holiness ; Infinite Atonement. 

A Book must itself be infinite which deals with In- 
finites ; and a Book must be Divine which divinely recon- 
ciles Infinites. 

Infinite Guilt ! Has my guilt any bottom. ? Is Hell 
any deeper ? Is there ? in introspection, a possible lower, 
more bottomless nadir? Infinite Guilt! That is what 
opens, caves away under my feet, the longer, the more 
carefully I plumb my own heart my nature, my record. 
Infinitely guilty ! That is what I ani and where far, far 



62 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

below the plane of self-apology, or ghastly " criticism " of 
the Book which testifies to this. Infinitely guilty ! That 
is what I am. Infinitely sinking, and, below me, an in- 
finite Tophet. 1 know that. As soon as the Bible de- 
clares it, I know it, and, with it, I know that witnessing 
Bible divine. I know it I do not know how by an 
instinct, by conscience, by illumination, by the power of 
the Spirit of God; by the Word without, and by the 
flashed conviction in me which accord. 

And, counterpoised above, me, a correlative Infinite 
God! What can be higher? What zenith loftier ? What 
doming of responsibility more dread or more portentous ? 
Infinite God above me coming to judge me ! On the 
way now. I must meet Him. 1 know that. I know it, 
as soon as the Bible declares it. I know it I do not know 
how by an instinct. Even the natural man must picture 
to himself when thus depicted, and must fear, 

"A God hi grandeur, and a world on fire." 

An infinitely Holy God above me, coming to judge me. 
That is the Second Infinite. 

Then the Third and what completes the Triangle, and 
makes its sides eternally, divinely equal Infinite Atone- 
ment an Infinite Saviour God on the cross making 
answer to God on the throne my Jesus my refuge 
my Everlasting Jehovah. 

By these three Infinites especially this last this in- 
finite Atonement, for which my whole being cries out its 
last cry of exhaustion by this third side of the stupendous 
Triangle the side which, left to myself, I could never 
make out, the Bible proves itself the sonl'a Geometry 
the one Eternal Mathematics the true Revelation of God. 

Aye. ! and by that ineffable something self-luminous 
flooding the soul, which bathing the Book bears the reader 
as well on its tide. 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 63 

La larga ploia 

Dello Spirito santo, cli'e diffusa 
In su le Vecchie e in su le nuove cuoia, 
E sillogismo, che la mi ha conchiusa 
Acutamente si, che in verso d'ella 
Ogni dimostrazioii mi pare ottusa. 

"The flood, I answered, of the Spirit of God 
Kained down upon the Ancient Testament and New, 
This is the reasoning that convinceth me 
So feelingly, each argument beside 
Seems blunt and forceless in comparison. " * 

"We take the ground that these three things Guilt, 
God, Atonement set thus in star-like apposition and 
conjunction, speak from the sky, more piercingly than 
stars do, saying : " Sinner and sufferer, this Eevelation 
is Divine ! " 

We take the open ground, that a single stray leaf of 
God's Word, found by the wayside, by one who never 
had seen it before, would convince him at once that the 
strange and the wonderful words were those of his God 
were Divine. 

The Scriptures are their own self- evidence. We take 
the ground the sun requires no critic truth no diving- 
bell. When the sun shines, he shines the sun. When 
God speaks, His evidence is in the accent of His words. 

How did the prophets of old know, when God spoke 
to them, that it was God? Did they subject the voice, 
that shook their every bone, and made their flesh dissolve 
upon them, to a critical test? Did they put God, so to 
say as some of our moderns would seem to have done 
into a crucible, into a chemist's retort, in order to certify 
that He was God ? Did they find it necessary to hold 
the handwriting of God in front of the blow-pipe of anx- 



* Dante II Paradiso. 



64- TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

ious philosophical examination, in order to bring out and 
to make the invisible, visible ? The very suggestion is 
madness. 

The Scriptures are their own self-evidence. The re- 
fusal of the Bible on its simple presentation, is enough to 
damn any man, and, if persisted in, will damn him for, 

11 A glory gilds the sacred page, 

Majestic, like the sun, 
It gives a light to every age, 
It gives, but borrows none." 

IV. Glory spreads over the face of the Scriptures, but 
this glory, when scrutinized closely, is seen to contain 
certain features and outlines testimonies inside of itself, 
direct assertions, which conspire to illustrate again its 
high Divinity, and to confirm its claim. 

This is our fourth point : The Scriptures say of them- 
selves that they are Divine. They not only assume it ; 
they say it. And this, " Thus saith the Lord," is intrin- 
sic a witness inside of the witness, and one upon which 
something more than conviction confidence, or Spirit- 
born and saving faith, depends. 

The argument from the self-assertion of Scripture is 
cumulative. 

1st. The Bible claims that, as a Book, it comes from 
God. 

2d. It asserts that its very words are the words of God. 

3d. It asserts that each pen-stroke is God-breathed 
inspired. 

Now, let us go back, and resume these three points a 
little more slowly ; and, 

1st. The Bible claims that, as a Book, it comes from 
God. In various ways, it urges this claim. 

One thing ; it says so. " God in old times spake by 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 65 

the prophets ; God now speaks by His Son." The 
question of Inspiration is, in its first statement, the ques- 
tion of Kevelation itself. If the Book be divine, then 
what it says of itself is Divine. The Scriptures are in- 
spired because they say they are inspired. The question 
is simply one of Divine testimony, and our business is, as 
simply, to receive that testimony. " Inspiration is as 
much an assertion," says Haldane, " as is justification by 
faith. Both stand, and equally, on the authority of 
Scripture, which is as much an ultimate authority upon 
this point as upon any other." When God speaks, and 
when He says " 1 speak ! " there is the whole of it. He 
is bound to be heard and obeyed. 

And God does speak. He brings the Bible to us, and 
He claims to be its Author. If, at this moment, yonder 
heavens were opened the curtained canopy of star-sown 
clouds rolled back if, amid the brightness of the light 
ineffable, the Dread Eternal were Himself seen, rising 
from His throne, and heard to speak to us in voices au- 
dible no one of these could be more potent, more imper- 
ative, than what lies now before us upon Inspiration's page. 

In the Bible, GOD speaks, and speaks not only by 
proxy. Leviticus is a signal example of this. Chapter 
after chapter of Leviticus begins : "And the Lord spake, 
saying"; and so it runs on through the chapter. Moses 
is simply a listener, a scribe. The self- announced speaker 
is God. 

In the Bible, God himself comes down and speaks, not 
in. the Old Testament alone, and not alone by proxy. 
" The New Testament presents us," says Dean Burgon, 
" with the august spectacle of the Ancient of Days, hold- 
ing the entire volume of the Old Testament Scriptures in 
His hands, and interpreting it of Himself. He, the In- 
carnate Word, ' who was in the beginning with God,' 
and ' who was God ' that same Almighty One is set 



66 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

forth in the Gospels as holding the ' volume of the Book ' 
in His hands as opening and unfolding it, and explain- 
ing it everywhere of Himself." 

Christ everywhere receives the Scriptures, and speaks 
of the Scriptures, in their entirety the Law, the Proph 
ets, and the Psalms, the whole Old Testament canon as 
the living Oracle of God. He accepts and He endorses 
everything written, and even makes most prominent 
those miracles which infidelity regards as most incredible. 
And He does all this upon the ground of the authority of 
God. He passes over the writer leaves him out of ac- 
count. In all His quotations from the Old Testament, 
He mentions but four of the writers by name. The ques- 
tion with Him is not a question of the reporter, but of 
the Dictator. Suppose a sovereign like Kaiser Wilhelm 
dictating five or six letters to five or six different private 
secretaries at once. Suppose that six agents have penned 
the six parts of one letter! Our Saviour does not see the 
six pens. He sees the one Writer, the one Hand out- 
stretched, viewless, infallible, awful behind all human 
hands. 

And this position of our Saviour which exalted Scrip- 
ture as the mouthpiece of the living God was steadily 
maintained by the apostles and the apostolic Church. 
Again and over "again, in the book of the Acts, in all 
the Epistles, do we find such expressions as " He saith," 
" God saith," The oracles of God," The Holy Ghost 
saith," "Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the 
prophet." 

The Epistle to the Hebrews furnishes a splendid illus- 
tration of this, where, setting forth the whole economy of 
the Mosaic rites, the author adds, " The Holy Ghost this 
signifying." Further on, and quoting words of Jere- 
miah, he enforces them with the remark, " The Holy 
Ghost is witness to us also." The imperial argument on 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE' TO ITSELF. 67 

Psalm xcv. he clenches with the application, " Wherefore 
(as the Holy Ghost saith), To-day if ye will hear His 
voice." Throughout the entire Epistle, whoever may 
have been the writer quoted from, the words of the quota- 
tion, are referred to God.* 

2d. But now let us come closer, to the very exact and 
categorical and unequivocal assertion. If the Scriptures 
as a Book are Divine, then what they say of themselves 
is Divine. What do they say I 

In this inquiry, let us keep our fingers on two words, 
and always on two words the Apostolic keys to the 
whole Church position " ypacp??," " 0pxvevffTO$" 

" Graphe " writing, writing, THE WETTING, not some- 
body, something back of the Writing. The Writing, 
"He Gmphe" that was inspired. 

And what is meant by inspired? "Tlieopnemtos" 
God-breathed. Modern theologians have played at shut- 
tle-cock with various " degrees " of inspiration. It is in- 
deed a wretched play this bandying of quibbles in the 
mouths of mortals to whom God vouchsafes to speak, and 
who themselves are sitting shaking on the crumbling prec- 
ipice of an Eternal destiny. 

Degrees of inspiration ! Shades of varying value in 
the cadences of the Almighty's voice ! He whispers, 
hesitates, speaks low in Esther, in the sixteenth chapter 
of St. Mark, and in the eighth chapter of St. John's Gos- 
pel. He stutters, falters in the Genealogies; is inaccu- 
rate iu figures. He evidently weakens, halts : Almighty 
God breaks down ! 

Degrees of inspiration ! The older theologians, thank 
God, did not know them nor own them. Why should 
they ? As well discuss degrees in Deity, in Predestina- 



* Olshausen, Die Echtheit des N. T. } cited by Dr. Lee. 



68 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

tion, in Providence, as talk about degrees in that of which 
Augustine says: "Whatsoever He willed that we should 
read either of His doings or sayings that He commis- 
sioned His agents to write, as if their hands had been His 
own hands." 

"God breathed" sweeps the whole ground. God 
comes down as a blast on the pipes of an organ, 
in voice like a whirlwind, or in still whispers like ^Eolian 
tones, and saying the word, He seizes the hand, and 
makes that hand in His own the pen of a most ready writer. 

Pasa Graphe Theopneustos! "All sacred writing." 
More exactly, " every sacred writing " every mark on 
the parchment is "God-breathed." So says St. Paul. 

Pasa Graphe Theopneustos ! The sacred assertion is 
not of the instruments, but of the Author / not of the 
agents, but of the Product. It is the sole and sovereign 
vindication of what has been left on the page when In- 
spiration gets through. " What is written," says Jesus, 
" how readest thou ? " Men can only read what is written. 

Pasa Grraphe Theopneustos! God inspires not men, 
but language. The phrase, " inspired men," is not found 
in the Bible. The Scripture never employs it. The 
Scripture says that "holy men were moved" -pherome- 
noi but that their writing, their manuscript, what they 
put down and left on the page, was God-breathed. You. 
breathe upon a pane of glass. Your breath congeals 
there ; freezes there ; stays there ; fixes an ice-picture 
there. That is the notion. The writing on the page be- 
neath the hand of Paul was just as much breathed on, 
breathed into that page, as was His soul breathed into 
Adam. 

The Chirograph was God's incarnate voice, as truly as 
the flesh of Jesus sleeping on the " pillow " was incarnate 
God. 

We take the ground that on the original parchment 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ^ITSELF. 69 

the membrane every sentence, word, line, mark, point, 
pen-stroke, jot, tittle, was put there by God. 

On the original parchment. There is no question of 
other, anterior parchments. Even were we to indulge 
the violent extra-Scriptural notion that Moses or Matthew 
transcribed from memory or from other books the things 
they have left us ; still, in any, in every such case, the se- 
lection, the expression, the shaping and turn of the phrase 
on the membrane was the work of an unaided God. 

But what? Let us have done with extra-Scriptural, 
presumptuous suppositions. The burning Isaiah the 
perfervid, wheel-gazing Ezekiel the ardent, seraphic 
St. Paul, caught up, up, up into that Paradise which he 
himself calls the " third heaven " were these men only 
"copyists," mere self-moved "redactors"? I trow not. 
Their pens urged, swayed, moved hither, thither by the 
sweep of a heavenly current, stretched their feathered 
tops, like that. of Luke upon St. Peter's dome, into the 
far-off Empyrean winged from the throne of God. 

We take the ground that on the original parchment, 
the membrane, every sentence, word, line, mark, point, 
pen-stroke, jot, tittle, was put there by God. 

On the original parchment. Men may destroy that 
parchment. Time may destroy it. To say that the 
membranes have suffered in the hands of men, is but to 
say that everything Divine must suffer, as the pattern 
Tabernacle suffered, when committed to our hands. To 
say, however, that the writing has suffered the words 
and letters is to say that Jehovah has failed. 

The writing remains. Like that of a palimpsest, it 
will survive and reappear, no matter what circumstances 
what changes come in to scatter, obscure, disfigure, or 
blot it away. Not even one lonely THEOS writ large by 
the Spirit of God on the Great Uncial " C " as, with my 
own eyes I have seen it plain, vivid, glittering, out- 



70 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

starting from behind the pale and overlying ink of 
Ephraem the Syrian can be buried. Like Banquo's 
ghost, it will rise ; and God himself replace it, and, with 
a hammer-stroke, beat down deleting hands. The parch- 
ments, the membranes decay ; the writings, the words 
are eternal as God. Strip off the plaster from Belshaz- 
zar's palace, yet Mene ! Mene ! Tekel ! Upharsin ! re- 
main. They remain. 

Let us go through them, and from the beginning, and 
see what the Scriptures say of themselves. 

One thing : they say that God spake, ttakai v roi? 
npocprjTaiS, " anciently and all the way down, in the 
prophets." One may make, if he pleases, the "fV" in- 
strumental as it is more often instrumental i. e., " ~by " 
the prophets ; but in either case, in them, or ~by them, the 
Speaker was God. 

Again : the Scriptures say that the laws the writers 
promulgated, the doctrines they taught, the stories they 
recorded above all, their prophecies of -Christ, were not 
their own ; were not originated, nor conceived by them, 
were not rehearsed, by them, from memory, nor obtained 
from any outside sources were not what they had any 
means, before, of knowing, or of comprehending, but were 
immediately from God ; they themselves being only re- 
cipient, only concurrent with God, as God moved upon 
them. 

Some of the speakers of the Bible, as Balaam, the Old 
Prophet of Bethel, Caiaphas, are seized and made to 
speak in spite of themselves; and, with the greatest re- 
luctance, to utter what is farthest from their minds and 
hearts. Others in fact all are purblind to the very 
oracles, instructions, visions, they announce. " Searching 
what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which 
was in them did signify ! " i. e., the prophets themselves 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. ?1 

did not know what they wrote. What picture can be 
more impressive than that of the prophet himself hang- 
ing over and contemplating in surprise, in wonder, in 
amazement, his own autograph as if it had been left 
upon the table there the relict of some strange and su- 
pernatural Hand? How does that picture lift away the 
Bible from all human hands and place it back, as His 
original Deposit, in the hands of Gad. 

Again : it is said that*" the Word of the Lord came " 
to such and such a writer. It is not said that the SPIRIT 
came, which is true ; but that the Word itself came, the 
Dabar- Jehovah. And it is said : "Hayo Hay a Dabar" 
that it substantially came essentially came " essendo 
fuit" so say Pagninus, Montanus, Polanus i. e., it 
came germ, seed and husk and blossom in its totality 
" words which the Holy Ghost teacheth " the " words." 

Again : it is denied^ and most emphatically, that the 
words are the words of the man of the agent. " The 
Spirit of the Lord," says David, " spake by me, and His 
word was in my tongue." St. Paul asserts that "Christ 
spake in him " (2 Cor. xiii. 3). u Who hath made man's 
mouth ? Have not I, the Lord ? I will put my words 
into thy mouth." That looks very much like what has 
been stigmatized as the " mechanical theory." It surely 
makes the writer a mere organ, although not an uncon- 
scious, or unwilling, un spontaneous organ. Could lan- 
guage more plainly assert or defend a verbal direct in- 
spiration ? 

Yes, but in only one way e. 0., by denying the agent. 
And that denial we equally have from the lips of our 
Saviour. "It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of } r our 
Father which speaketh in you. Take no thought how or 
what ye shall say. The Holy Ghost shall teach you what 
ye ought to say " both ths* u how " and the " what " 
both the matter and form. 



Y2 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

In a line with the fact, again it is said that the word 
came to the writers without any study " suddenly " as 
to Amos (chap. vii. 15), where he is taken from following 
the flock. 

Again : When the word thus came to the prophets tJiey 
had not the power to conceal it. It was " like a fire in 
their bones" which innst speak or write, as Jeremiah 
says, or consume its human receptacle. 

And to make this more clear, it is said that holy men 
were pheromenoi, " moved " or rather carried along in a 
supernatural, ecstatic current a delectatio scribendi. 
They were not left one instant to their wit, wisdom, fan- 
cies, memories, or judgments either to order, or arrange, 
or dispose, or write out. They were only reporters, in- 
telligent, conscious, passive, plastic, docile, exact, and ac- 
curate reporters. They were like men who wrote with 
different kinds of ink. They colored their work with 
tints of their own personality, or rather God colored it, 
having made the writer as the writing, and the writer for 
that special writing ; and because the work ran through 
them just as the same water, running through glass tubes, 
yellow, green, red, violet, will be yellow, violet and green, 
and red. 

God wrote the Bible, the whole Bible, and the Bible 
as a whole. He wrote each word of it, as truly as He 
wrote the Decalogue on the Tables of stone. 

Higher criticism tells us the " New Departure " tells 
us, that Moses was inspired, but the Decalogue not. But 
Exodus and Deuteronomy, seven times over, declare that 
God stretched down the tip of His finger from heaven and 
left the marks, the gravements, the cut characters, the 
scratches on the stones (Exod. xxiv. 12). " I will give thee 
Tables of stone, commandments, which I have written" 
(Exod. xxxi. 18). u And He gave unto Moses, upon 
Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 73 

written with the finger of God " (Exod. xxxii. 16). " The 
Tables were the work of God and the writing was the 
writing of God, graven upon the tables " (Dent. iv. 12, 
13). " The Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the 
fire, and He declared unto you His covenant, even ten 
command ments, and He wrote them upon two tables of 
stone " (Deut. v. 22). " These words the Lord spake and 
He wrote them in two Tables of stone and delivered them 
unto me" (Dent. ix. 10). " And the Lord delivered unto 
me two Tables of stone written with the finger of God ! " 

Seven times, and to men to whom writing is instinct ; 
to beings who are most of all impressed, not by vague 
vanishing voices, but by words arrested, fixed, set down ; 
and who themselves cannot resist the impulse to commit 
their own words to some written deposit, even of stone, 
or of bark, if they have not the paper ; seven times, to 
men, to whom writing is instinct and who are inclined to 
rely for their highest conviction on what they have styled 
" documentary evidence," i. e. y on books ; God comes in 
and declares, " I have written ! " 

The Scriptures, whether with the human instrument 
or without the human instrument, with Moses or without 
Moses, were written by God. When God had finished, 
Moses had nothing else to do but carry down God's auto- 
graph. That is our doctrine. The Scriptures, if ten 
words, then all the words if the Law, then the Gospels 
the writing, the writings, He Graphe Hai Graphai 
expressions repeated more than fifty times in the New 
Testament alone this, these were inspired. 

3d. But if the words were inspired, then every pen-stroke, 
mark, scratch, "jot," "tittle" was inspired every He- 
brew vowel-point down to the Segliol and the Sheva. 

The question as to literal and autographic inspiration 
will always move back, inch by inch, in discussion, until 



74 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

it has readied and finally confronted the crucial defense 
of the Reformers THAT OF THE VERY POINTS. 

The New Testament hangs for authority upon the Old 
Testament, and the Old Testament hangs upon the points. 

It is perfectly well understood by us all that the con- 
sonants are characters or letters in the Hebrew, and that 
the vowels are placed over these, within them, but espe- 
cially beneath them in the form of marks or points. 

These points determine the words, and the words de- 
termine the sentence. Whether a word be a noun or a 
verb ; or, if a noun, what noun ? if a verb, what verb ? 
passive or active, past, present, or future ? all this, in a 
given particular case, may depend on the points. 

Take as an illustration, in the Hebrew the word 

to esteem. This, by change of the vowels, becomes 
agate; -i^EJ a porter; *\y*$mle; ^^ to shudder ; 

T -T 

the hair ; *)2fo f ear i horror. All seven words, verb, 

noun, or adjective, to be distinguished only by the points. 

Take as another illustration, in the English, the word 
u Broad," for instance. The consonants are B. R. D. 
Now for the vowels Bard, Bird, Beard, Board, 
Aboard, Brad, Braid, Bred, past of to breed Bread, 
an article of food Broad, Abroad, Brood. Twelve 
words, at least with three consonants. 

The manuscript is theopneustic, not the man. The 
inspiration of the Yowel-points part of that manuscript 
is therefore seen to be integral, vital. Of course, if 
the pen-strokes are inspired upon the parchment, the 
words are. Give the pen-strokes, and you give the words. 
The establishment of the Points will, therefore, always be 
the establishment of the Church doctrine of exact, direct, 
chirographical inspiration ; and not only this, but also the 
establishment of one straight, permanent, received, and 
changeless text ; and this Dr. Gin&burg, himself the 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 75 

foremost laborer against that text, as equally against the 
vowel-pointB, most readily admits. 

The constant, uniform tradition of the Jews, affirming 
that the points came down from Moses, and the giving of 
the Law, was a tradition unbroken down to the year 
1538, twenty-one years after Luther had nailed up his 
Theses. The points were then denied by Eli as Levita, a 
rationalistic Jew, who stood alone against the sentiment 
of his whole nation, at the time of writing his book.* " It 
is to the Massoreth Ha Massoreth of Levita," as Dr. Gins- 
burg admits, " that we owe the present modern contro- 
versy concerning the antiquity and inspiration of the 
Points," " The rejection of the Points," as he admits, 
" by men of laxer tendency, following Levita, produced 
most lamentable effects, especially so far as the criticism 
of the Old Testament is concerned " f effects, indeed, 
we may add, from which we have not yet recovered, but 
which, in spite of all the resistance of a sound and a loyal 
conservatism, are still seen working themselves out in the 
popular, so-called, " Higher Criticism " of the day. " It 
was," continues Dr. Ginsburg, " the unwarrantable lib- 
erty taken with the text, first started by Capellus, follow- 
ing in the wake of Levita, and the resort to all sorts of 
emendations and conjectural readings, in order to sus- 
tain the peculiar and the preconceived fancies of different 
individuals and schools, which converted the controversy 
about the Yowel-points into an Article of Faith in the 
Reformed Church of Switzerland, and led to the enacting 
of a law in 1678 that no person should be licensed to 
preach the Gospel in the churches, unless he publicly de- 
clared that he believes in the integrity of the Hebrew 
text, and in the Divinity of the very Vowel-points." 



* Buxtorf, Tractatus de Punc. Origine* 
t Massoreth Ha Massoreth, p. 61. 



76 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

The last Doctrinal Confession of the Reformed Church 
of Switzerland, the Formula Consensus of 1675, drawn 
up by Heidegger and Turrettin, and which fitly closes the 
period of the great Calvinistic confessions, says as fol- 
lows : 

"In particular, do we accept the Hebrew Codex of the 
Old Testament, which comes to us from the hands of the 
Jewish Church, to which were formerly committed the 
' Oracles of God '; and we firmly maintain it, not only 
as to the consonants, but also as to the vowels, sive ipsa 
puncta, the very points ; the words as well as the things, 
as theopneustos God-breathed part of our faith, not 
only, but our very life." 

The question is settled for us, however, not by Confes- 
sions, but by the Book itself. 

THE BIBLE TESTIFIES THE INSPIRATION OF THE POINTS. 

1. It says, with reference to the Tables of the Law, 
that they were the work of God absolutely ; and that the 
writing was the writing of God the whole of it ; and 
that it was graven of God every scratch of it. See 
Exod. xxxii. 16. 

2. Our Saviour tells us that part of these scratches 
were "jots," or yodhs, and "tittles," or little pointed 
marks, and that not one of these shall pass away. These 
words of Christ, "jot," " tittle" (see Matt. v. 18), are no 
repetition of some common and exaggerated proverb, and 
they are no tautology. They mean, in all Divine inten- 
tion and emphasis, just what they say, and they refer to 
the specimen of the two Tables, not only, but to the 
whole scope of Scripture as well. " Seeing our Saviour," 
says Fulke, the great champion of Protestantism, "seeing 
our Saviour hath promised that never a prick (i. <?., a 
vowel-point) of the Law shall perish, we may understand 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 77 

His words of all the prophets, for we do not receive the 
vowels from some later Jews, but from the Prophets 
themselves." Such, also, is the comment of the distin- 
guished Hebraist, Hugh Broughton, as well as that of the 
great Fiscator, who says: "It appears from this text 
(Matt, y. 18), that the Holy Bible, in the time of Christ, 
had the points, arid that these points were contirmed by 
our Saviour." 

3. The Bible asserts the inspiration of the very vowel- 
points, because it says "words which the Holy Ghost 
teacheth " the words. " Words," notice, brethren, not 
" half-words, " not wind-swept skeletons, which wait to 
be tilled in by human conjecture. Consonants are not 
words, and if men can make vowels, they can also make 
consonants, and so make their own words, and so make a 
Bible. Nor does the minuteness of the vowel-point im- 
pugn the argument, since God, who can engrave an 
Aleph, can equally engrave a Kibbuts or a Sheva. Exod. 
xxxii. 16 says that He did so. 

4. The inference is unavoidable from Deut. xxvii. 8, 
where the command is given to write " very plainly " 
literally to cut each mark in deep. This must include 
the vowel-marks, as well as consonants, for on them, most 
of all, the plainness must depend. There are innumera- 
ble passages where, without the vowel-points, no man 
alive can tell the meaning of the Holy Ghost, nor know 
the mind of God. 

Rome opposes, with all her most virulent force, the 
vowel- points, because, once rid of these, she makes the 
Church the arbiter the umpire and interpreter. The 
Church puts in the points. 

This anti-scriptural and arrogant assumption of exclu- 
sive rights in the monopoly of truth the very doctrine 
of the scribes and Pharisees who sit in Moses' seat was 
never voiced more boldly than by that bulwark of the 



78 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

papacy, Morinus, who does not hesitate to put it that 
u the reason why God ordained the Scriptures to be writ- 
ten in this ambiguous manner (i. e., without the Points), 
is because it is His will that every man should be sub- 
ject to the judgment of the Church, and not to interpret 
the Bible in his own way. For, seeing that the reading 
of the Bible is so difficult, and so liable to various ambi- 
guities, from the very nature of the thing, it is plain that 
it is not the will of God that every one should rashly and 
irreverently take upon himself to explain it; nor to suf- 
fer the common people to expound it at their pleasure ; 
but that in those things, as in other matters respecting 
religion, it is His will that the people should depend upon 
the priests." 

Counter to this entire principle of Rome, Protestantism 
stands for the points, and the more, that she is driven to 
substitute for an Infallible Church, an Infallible SOME- 
THING a Bible. 

" The Bible," says Protestantism, " is independent of 
all men of all tradition, of all councils, of all decretals 
and canons. It needs no Pope ; nor college of scarlet- 
frocked cardinals ; no Ecumenical Assembly to endorse 
its claim." 

" The Church," says Protestantism, " is built on the 
Bible, and not the Bible on the Church." The Church is 
to be shaped to the Bible, not the Bible to the Church. 
The Church is to return to the Bible, not the Bible to 
the Church. The Church is not the keeper of the Bible, 
but the Bible keeps the Church. The only barrier 
against backsliding ; the only hope in reform ; the only 
power to heal, that is vital, is the Book of Books, and the 
conviction that its every utterance and every pen-stroke 
is Divine. 

5. A fifth and final indirect but powerful testimony of 
the Scripture to the vowel-points, is in the marginal notes 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 79 

which the Hebrew brings with it the so-called Keri Ve- 
Keikib. The Keri in the margin nowhere changes the 
vowels of the text. The margin everywhere testifies to 
the vowel-points as authentic. It is the consonants in 
every instance that are changed. 

The Vowel-points then, according to the Scripture as 
well as the universal Jewish tradition, are an integral part 
of the text of the very handwriting of God. The Kab- 
balah (Sohar I ; 15, b.) asserts that " the Towel-points 
proceeded from the same Holy Spirit who indited all the 
sacred Scriptures." 

Suppose one to take the opposite ground, that the con- 
sonants alone were inspired and the vowels, a human in- 
vention, were afterward introduced. Now see the diffi- 
culties : 

When ? At what moment were they introduced ? Such 
a change as the pointing over from Genesis to Revela- 
tion of an unpointed Bible must have produced among 
Christians, as well as Jews, little less than an earthquake. 

Press the argument further : The Points are in exist- 
ence. They are here. ISTot only do we have books writ- 
ten and printed without them, but we have books WITH 
them, the Great Temple Copy, of which these shorthand, 
ephemeral copies are briefs. Where did the points come 
from which are to-day upon the MSS. considered as 
authority ? those MSS. which regulate criticism and are 
the unswerving conservators of the true text ? The 
points upon those JV1SS., whence did they come ? 

Press the argument still further. It is said that the 
points were invented by the Masorites because we get 
them from the Masorites, but the question echoes and 
still echoes, " Whence did they get them ? " 

Press the argument homo to the wall. It is said that 
the points were invented by the Masorites. It is said so, 



80 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

because Levita first said so. But what did he know about 
it? Nothing. He stood, as Buxtorf shows, alone a 
single man against the sentiment and history of his whole 
nation. His speculation was built rashly up on a conject- 
ure like a blind man's dream upon a fancy, rootless as a 
mushroom growth. There were several schools of the 
Masorites. Which school invented the points? Why 
did not other schools the jealousy of scholars is prover- 
bial observe, dissent, dispute them ? How explain the 
miracle of a complete unanimity and unexceptional sub- 
jection to the school of Tiberias, if school of Tiberias it 
was? How account for it that childish, doting Rabbins 
of Tiberias, " men more mad than Pharisees, bewitching 
with traditions and bewitched, blind, crafty, raging," 
should have shown such nice Divine composure and ex- 
actness as appears in all the adaptations of the points? 
"Look at the men," says Dr. Lightfoot in his masterly 
response to Walton's Prolegomenon. "Read over the 
Jerusalem Talmud, and see there how R. Judah, R. Cha- 
ninah, R. floshaia, R. Chija Rabba and the rest of the 
grand Masorites behave themselves. How earnestly they 
labor at nothing ; how childishly they handle serious dis- 
putes, how much froth, venom, smoke pure nothing in 
their disputations. Then if you can believe the pointing 
of the Bible came from such a school," become a Jew 
yourself, " believe also their Talmuds. The pointing of 
the Bible savors of the work of God the Holy Ghost and 
not of that of lost and blinded and besotted men." 

To these considerations let us add the following, which 
rest the argument in a reductio ad absurdum. 

Remove the points from the text, for an interval, sav, 
of 500 years, and no man could, from the consonants only, 
make out the Hebrew. The vowels are indispensable for 
reading and teaching a language. What one might do 
with briefs a skeleton after he has mastered a tongue is 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 81 

one tiling, but what a beginner can do is another. "It 
was," says Dr. Gill, u the duty and the interest of every 
Hebrew to read his Bible, that being the charter of his 
salvation a charter written not for learned men only, 
but for the common people men, women, and children 
who could not read without the points." 

But lastly to round up the whole Vowels are the life 
of a language the consonants are not. The consonants 
are simply stops upon the breath ; but the breath Ah, 
E, O Ye-Ho-Vah is primal, the soul. As says the 
Kdbbalah, the oldest and most eminent Jewish authority, 
" Consonants are the body, and the vowel-points the soul ; 
the consonants move with the motion and stand still with 
the resting of the vowel-points, just as an army moves 
after its sovereign." " Yowels," says Dr. Gill, " are the 
life and soul of language. Letters without them are in- 
deed dead letters ; the consonants stubborn, immovable 
things ; they cannot even be pronounced without vowels, 
which are, as Plato says, their necessary bond." That, 
therefore, the Hebrew, the first and most perfect lan- 
guage of all, Gcd's own peculiar language, should be 
without them, is inconceivable. 

Y. And so we reach the fifth and closing Head the 
Casket of the Gem. The Bible is its own self-evidence, 
not only in its Immortality in its Sublime Authority 
in its Transcendent Doctrine in its Direct Assertions 
but also in the very Languages in which it is enshrined. 

Let us go back to the Hebrew to God's language to 
the tongue in which He said, u Let there be light ! " be- 
fore there was a world. 

The oldest languages are philologically the most per- 
fect, and nothing else, perhaps, betrays so deep, so pa- 
thetic a stamp of the Fall as does the downward progress 
of the human tongue. 



82 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

Back of our coarser and more block-like English, we 
transfer ourselves to the French, with its subtler refine- 
ments with touches of its hair-like pencillings upon the 
shades of thought ; or with its buoyant swell and give to 
all emotion, as elasticities of wave to sinuosities of shore. 

And back of this again : in dream-like thrall to more 
melodious cadences of the Italian tones " accents whose 
law was beauty, and whose breath enrapturing music." 
And back of these back of their mother-Latin to the in- 
finite versatility and grandeur and depth and comprehen- 
siveness of the Greek. Greek ! in itself a universe prepared 
tor teeming and for populating thought. Greek! with 
its infinite and wondrous subtleties of shade in mood and 
tense, its play of graceful and innumerable particles, and 
cadences like chimes of air-flung and metallic bells. And, 
back, still back and, the farther, the more complicated 
and abstruse the more exacting in its constructions 
the more precise in its articulations the more attenuated 
in its case and tense endings, is our human speech the 
more Divine a vehicle of wide enfranchised thought. 
The Sanscrit is not any longer like pulley-blocks roped 
together, nor like corals threaded on a string. Smooth 
and pellucid in its flow, it is as liquid sunlight dropping 
in echoes of a rhythmic and remote cascade, as from the 
ledges of an upper and angelic heaven. 

Language, then, the higher we trace it, is not found to 
be a bungling and mechanical attempt at understanding. 
It is more and more the throb of holy heart to heart 
the flash of heavenly thought rekindling thought, without 
the chasmed break, without the filmy veil ; and all our 
dying tongues, down to the latest, are but fainter echoes 
fragments of that earlier and loftier speech, in which 
the angels spoke to man Adam to God, and God to 
Adam. When we have reached the beginning, we have 
in possession the language of God ; the words and the 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 83 

GRAMMAR which God gave in Eden which man has cor- 
rupted, confounded, lost away in dialectic dislocations 
since the fall. 

The Hebrew, like a prism shattered into various lights 
. at Babel, is the matrix of all other roots and forms. . 

1. Because in it, as in no other, names are Divinely 
expressive. Originally, names are characters in photo- 
graph. They are, or they should be, like labels on phials, 
which describe the contents. Barnes at the first were 
manifestations of men and of things. They are so in 
Hebrew. Adam means " Earthy," Seth Substituted," 
Noah " The Consoler," Abraham " The Father of Mul- 
titudes," Jacob " Supplanter," Moses " Delivered," 
"Drawn out." 

2. The Hebrew is original, because in it, as in no other, 
derivatives are built upon their roots, so that one can 
look through the derivative straight to the root, or back, 
so to say, through the slides of the telescope to the first 
slide the root notion ruling unswervingly everywhere. 
Take as an example, Adam earthy, because made from 
the earth Isha, " woman," because made from Ish, man. 
In other languages the continuity is often broken. In 
Greek, Anthropos, " man," has no relation to Ge, the 
earth. In Latin, muUer y or femina, " woman," has no 
relation to homo. 

3. The Hebrew form is antecedent to all similar forms 
in all other languages. Its root stands first. This is 
splendidly argued by Scaliger in opposition to the Maron- 
ites, who claimed a greater antiquity for the Syriac. 
What is the Hebrew for " king," says Scaliger, " MELE- 
KAH." What is the Hebrew 3 MELEE." Which has 
the root, and which is the shorter ? That settles it. 

4:. Because the language employed by Adam in nam- 
ing the animals was Hebrew, and that language was not 



84 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

invented by him upon the occasion, but had been taught 
him by God. 

One thing : Because the names given to the animals 
imply a knowledge of their attributes and characteristics. 

Another thing: God had already been talking to 
Adam, and in the same language. 

Again : It seems that the animals were brought to 
Adam as object-lessons, to see what he would call them 
i. e.j God wished to see how accurately Adam would fit 
the name taught to the thing. 

5. Because language is called in Scripture, not only 
"Throat" and "Lip? but especially "Tongue? and 
it is said that God teaches man this : " The Lord God 
hath given me the tongue of the learned " (Isa. 1. 4). 
" The preparations of the heart," not only, but " the an- 
swer of the tongue, is from the Lord." 

6. Because the whole earth was once of one tongue and 
one speech, and that speech by common consent of all 
Jewish and Gentile Traditions, the Lingua Sancta, the 
Holy, or the Hebrew Tongue. So says Ephodeus ; so 
Jonathan the Paraphrast. With this agree the Kabbal- 
ists, the Jerusalem Talmud, the Book of Cosri, E. Ben 
Jarchi, R. Ben Ezra, R. Levi ben Gerson as well as Je- 
rome, Ambrose, Chrysostom, Augustine.* 

7. Because God himself spoke before Adam was crea- 
ted, and spoke in Hebrew, calling " Light," ^-fi Day ; 

44 Darkness/' ftV'b Night : " Firmament," hifatt) Heaven; 
T:T - T 

" Dry land," yng Earth, etc. 

Hebrew was the first language, and therefore the 
most perfect language ; for " that which is perfect," says 
Aristotle, " requires a perfect expression "; and Adam, be- 
ing made very good, must have had a language very, i.e. 



See Buxtorf, " De Antiquitate Ling. Heb." 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 85 

perfectly good ; besides, a language which God speaks, 
must be like God. 

And one is tempted to believe agreeably with the as- 
cending and unswerving trend of this conviction that 
deep the die of inspiration strikes into the very structure 
of those languages which an Infinite Wisdom has deigned 
to employ as its mouthpiece. 

Let us not tarry here upon mysteries, like that of 
the Incarnation, found by the Kabbalists in the Divine 
Tetragrammaton, in the very form of the word Jehovah 
itself, but take the verb, the life of every language. In 
the Hebrew the conjugation is from the third person 
down. It begins with " He" as the actor i. e., with God 
first. It thus subverts the carnal languages of men and 
turns them upside down. 

Language, in its decadence, marking the steps of our 
apostasy from God, begins with us here in the Occident, 
the sunset " I," " Thou," " He," makes man the great- 
est and God least and last. The Hebrew, born when 
morning stars rejoiced, reverses this confutes the spirit 
as the speech of carnal man and conjugates its verb Di- 
vinely down from God. 

Another feature stamped upon the very structure of 
the tongues of inspiration, which, taxing your indulgence 
here, I venture to suggest, is that they not obscurely hint, 
before one word is spoken, all the redemptive scheme of 
God. Presenting the Y of our apostasy and our recov- 
ery down from the Third Person, God, to the lost per- 
son, I, in the Hebrew ; then from the lost person, " I," 
up again to the Third Person, God, in the Greek, they 
further and even more strikingly exhibit man's aphelion 
and his counter perihelion in the directions which they 
tdke. Hebrew, which teaches the fall and departure from 
God, is written from the " right hand where God works " 
toward the left from the sheep to the goats ; while 



86 TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 

Greek, which tells us of return and recovery, is written 
the other way from the left to the right from the goats 
to the sheep from the " wilderness " to the u fold " in 
God's thought of it backward. 

Thus, stamped upon the gravements of its very casket 
upon the structure of the tongues in which it speaks, 
we read conspicuous, self-evident^ the truth, that while 
Philosophy, the science of man, moves forward, Theol- 
ogy, the science of God, moves backward " Philosophia 
quotidie jpw-gressu, Theologia nisi ^-gressu non crescit." 

Backward, backward, backward, the whole Volume 
moves us not only nineteen centuries behind the present 
moment ; but back of time itself and every moment into 
the light of all eternities to speak the proclamation of a 
Gospel as antique and as unchangeable as are the deter- 
minate counsel and the foreknowledge of God for " Of 
Him and through Him and to Him, are all things to 
whom be the glory, forever. Amen ! " 

Brethren : the danger of our present day the " down- 
grade," as it has been called, of doctrine, of conviction, of 
the moral sentiment a decline more constantly patent, 
as it is more blatantly proclaimed, does it not find its first 
step in our lost hold upon the very inspiration of the 
Word of God? 

Does not a fresh conviction here, lie at the root of ev- 
ery remedy which we desire, as its sad lack lies at the 
root of every ruin we deplore ? 

Brethren : a fresh conviction only that of the very 
Inspiration of the Word of God spreading itself abroad 
in the -minds of our earnest American people, would wake 
from Maine to Arizona, and from Florida to Idaho the 
wave of a revival such as this continent has never known. 

Key up ! then let us key up our " Credo " in the ab- 
soluteness of the word which God has spoken. Bind 



TESTIMONY OF THE SCRIPTURE TO ITSELF. 87 

again ! Let us re-bind all cables to that Anchor, and the 
Ship of destiny, including all souls' freightage, will again 
obey her rudder, and be saved from wreck. 

The great question for every man is that of his per- 
sonal answer to the Word, spoken out of the skies, of a 
personal God. 



BIBLE MIEACLES. 

L. T. TOWNSEND, D.D. 

UNDERLYING all our discussions of the Bible, whether 
arguing for its genuineness, its authenticity, its credibil- 
ity, or its inspiration, is a subject which at the outset de- 
mands recognition ; it is the subject assigned for the pres- 
ent hour. That this claim is not extravagant is easily 
shown. For we might, in the ordinary way and to our 
satisfaction, prove that the Bible is all we claim for it ; 
still, our arguments would have but little weight with un- 
believing scientific and logical minds, if these minds were 
convinced that there is in the Bible the record of events 
purporting to be true, which, upon scientific grounds, 
are felt to be impossible. The reasoning is, that if the 
matters recorded are impossible, they are incredible ; if 
incredible, they completely destroy the claims of the Bi- 
ble as to its infallibility and inspiration. Hence, unbeliev- 
ing people who are acquainted with philosophical and log- 
ical methods, will invariably ask that all other discussions 
relating to the Bible may be suspended until we have 
come to a somewhat satisfactory solution of those events 
of an unquestioned supernatural character which fill a 
very large space in the sacred volume. 

As it will be impossible, in the time before us, to do 
justice to the entire subject of Bible miracles, and as it 
will be unsatisfactory to limit the discussion to some 
single miracle, we make a compromise, and confine atten- 
tion to the miracles recorded in the New Testament, and 
almost exclusively to those wrought by our Lord in the 
presence of His disciples. But it should be borne in mind 
(88) 



BIBLE MIRACLES. 89 

that the same principles and methods employed in the dis- 
cussion of our Lord's miracles apply equally well to all 
others, whether contained in the New or in the Old Tes- 
tament. 

Upon careful inquiry, the chief difficulty hanging over 
the subject of miracles will be found in the fact that they 
seem to antagonize what is termed " the uniformity of na- 
ture," which is said to be such as not to allow anything 
like a miracle to take place. 

David Hume who, it must be confessed, has present- 
ed one of the most powerful metaphysical arguments ever 
offered on either side of this subject bases his reasoning, 
you remember, upon the uniformity of nature as opposed 
to things extraordinary. " A miracle," he says, " is a vio- 
lation of the laws of nature ; and, as a firm and unalter- 
able experience has established those laws, the proof 
against a miracle, from the very nature of the case, is as 
entire as any argument from experience can possibly be 
imagined." 

Benedict Spinoza also brought to bear upon these ques- 
tions a giant intellect; but likewise built his argument 
upon the supposition that there is "an established uni- 
formity in the processes of nature," which renders mira- 
cles impossible. Theodore Parker's position is essentially 
the same : " I do not believe there ever was a miracle, or 
ever will be ; everywhere I find law the constant mode of 
the operation of the infinite God." Of similar character 
are the words of Ernest Kenan: "We banish miracles 
from history in the name of a constant experience." 

Certain other rationalists of late date have seized upon 
a sentiment of Goethe, and constructed their theories ac- 
cordingly. "An audible voice from heaven could not 
convince me," says Goethe, " that water burns ; I rather 
hold this to be blasphemy against the great God and His 
revelation in nature." 



90 BIBLE MIRACLES. 

A writer in The Westminster Review applies this same 
test to the resurrection of our Lord. The article is based 
upon the plea that " there is no evidence of any miracle- 
working agency in nature "; the sharp, antithetical con- 
clusion reached by the essayist is this : " If Christ died, 
He never reappeared; or, if He reappeared. He never 
died." 

JS T ow, it must be conceded that if the position is grant- 
ed that miracles 'are an actual overthrow of the established 
processes of nature, and if it is still further granted that 
such overthrows are impossible, then there is no chance 
for further argument. Only two propositions of three 
terms each are needed completely to demolish the doctrine 
of miracles and to overthrow the foundation upon which 
rests the entire superstructure of revealed religion. Thus, 
a miracle is a violation of nature ; a violation of nature is 
impossible ; therefore a miracle is impossible. Revealed 
religion rests upon a miraculous basis ; but a miraculous 
basis is an impossible basis; therefore revealed religion 
rests upon an impossible basis. Granting the premises, 
the demonstration is overwhelming and unanswerable. 
Logically, therefore, upon these premises of Hume, all 
the miraculous transactions recorded in the Bible become 
incredible ; the supernatural becomes a theological dogma, 
deserving of no respect whatever ; and the basis of Chris- 
tianity being overthrown, the superstructure, as well first 
as last, may be left to fall to the ground ; for in the end, 
fall it must. 

But before granting the foregoing premises, and before 
abandoning the Christian faith, which certainly has 
much that commends itself to the world, it might be 
well to inquire if these men who oppose Christianity have 
not assumed in their arguments some things which they 
cannot prove, and some things which are absolutely false. 

It may be that the public has been deceived by them ; 



BIBLE MIRACLES. 91 

that what lias been thought to be reasoning is nothing but 
fallacy ; that, in some instances, blatant assertions and in- 
genious guesswork have been palmed off for science, phi- 
losophy, and argument. 

At least, these adverse teachings, without harm to any 
one, now and then may be re-examined. Speaking with 
perfect frankness, we think it can be clearly shown that 
the evangelical view of miracles is as yet unimpeached ; 
that all the leading objectors to the Bible miracles have 
held untenable positions ; and that the evangelical claims 
can be established as clearly as any other matters that fall 
within the range of moral demonstration. 



In support of these positions, we begin with a very con- 
servative statement that Christ's miracles are probable, 
provided they are possible. Some of the probabilities in 
their favor are so apparent that they need merely an allu- 
sion. 

It is in their favor, for instance, that they bear Christ's 
name. He has enthroned Himself completely in the 
realms of eternal and unreached ideals. He is the Su- 
preme One. His miraculous power is not easily separated 
from Him. It seems natural for Him to do as He did. 
Everything about Him is remarkable. It is no stretch of 
fancy or of fact to say that the greatest miracle of all is 
Christ himself ! 

Not long since we were deeply impressed while reading 
from Dr. Charming, the father of American Unitarianism, 
the following words : " I ask you whether the character 
of Jesus be not the most extraordinary in history, and 
wholly inexplicable on human principles ? He talks of 
His glories as one to whom they were familiar, and of His 
intimacy and oneness with God as simply as a child speakg 
of his connection with his parents. I maintain that this 



92 BIBLE MIRACLES. 

is a character wholly remote from human conception. I 
contemplate it with a veneration second only to the pro- 
found awe with which I look up to God. It was a real 
character. Jesus is not a fiction. He is still the Son of 
God and the Saviour of the world." 

" Till the end of time," says Fichte, " all the sensible 
will bow before this Jesus of Nazareth and acknowledge 
the exceeding glory of this great phenomenon." 

We need not pause to continue these quotations. The 
hour could be "filled with them. The point is this: that 
if miracles are possible, it is reasonable to expect, or in 
other words it is probable, that they would be associated 
with the name of this peerless One, who, though an un- 
lettered mechanic, living in an unimportant province of 
the Roman empire, has revolutionized the ages ; and of 
whom, even Kenan has said, "Amid all the surprises of 
the future, Jesus will never be surpassed." 

Essentially the same may be said of the connection of 
Christianity with our Lord's miracles. Christianity is a 
miracle next in importance to Christ himself. Taken as 
a whole, there is nothing among the religions of the world 
to be compared with it. It is to-day the dominant factor 
in the world's progress and redemption, and is the only 
hope of the human race. Hence, if miracles are possible, 
they might well attend the inauguration of this exceptional 
and beneficent system of religion. 

And, further, Christ's miracles are found recorded in 
the uniquest and grandest book in the world a book 
which, in its influence for good, rises far above all the 
other literature of the world. But this Book of books, 
with no hesitation and with no form of apology, records 
fully these wonderful deeds wrought by our Lord. 

The character, too, of these miracles is worthy of 
note. They were just such deeds as one would expect at 
the hands of Christ ; just such deeds as one would expect 



BIBLE MIRACLES. 93 

at the inauguration of the Christian religion. They were 
deeds of mercy. The hungry were fed ; the blind re- 
ceived their sight ; the lame walked ; the lepers were 
cleansed ; the deaf were made to hear ; and the dead were 
raised to life. 

But again, upon grounds more strictly philosophical, do 
these Bible miracles seem probable. For if there is a God, 
and if He takes an interest in His children ; if He tries to 
aid them in their journeys ; if, as certainly no one disputes, 
confidence can be inspired in the average man by miracu- 
lous signs and attestations ; and if, as Bible history clearly 
shows, marked benefits have resulted from such signs, 
then it is at least reasonable to conclude that upon special 
occasions, and for special purposes, God would resort to 
miraculous agencies, provided He could do so; or, in 
other words, provided such an event as a miracle is pos- 
sible. 

Or, to be more specific, extending this part of the argu- 
ment so as to cover the Old Testament miracles, as well 
as those of the New, we ask this question : If the estab- 
lishment of the Jewish theocracy in any considerable 
measure depended upon the working of miracles before 
Pharaoh in Egypt, and before the Israelites on the way to 
Palestine ; if the perpetuity of the Jewish religion in some 
considerable measure depended upon the working of mir- 
acles in connection with Daniel, Elijah, and a few others ; 
and if the establishment of the Christian Church and the 
recoguization of our Lord's divinity during the first cen- 
tury considerably depended upon the working of miracles 
then, are there not strong probabilities that the Creator 
would resort, at just those critical times, and not indis- 
criminately at other times, to miraculous interpositions, in 
order to accomplish these and other benevolent purposes ; 
provided, we repeat, that such an event as a miracle is 
possible ? 



94 BIBLE MIRACLES. 

And in this connection, the fact should not be over- 
looked, that the various objects for which these Bible mir- 
acles were wrought, were as far forth accomplished as 
could be expected. That is, Pharaoh allowed Israel to de- 
part; Nebuchadnezzar decreed that the God of Daniel 
should be worshipped ; the priests of Baal were prevented 
from slaying Elijah, and he was permitted to slay them ; 
the common people believed in Christ ; and the Pharisees 
were often struck dumb by what they saw and heard, but 
could not explain. 

In view, therefore, of the character of Christ, and of 
the character of Christianity, and of the character of the 
book in which the miracles are recorded, and in view of 
the character of the miracles, and of the objects to be 
gained by the working of the miracles, and of the results 
that followed their working, (what a magnificent group- 
ing of probable evidences, unmatched, and more and more 
unchallenged !) may we not presume that every person 
present, and even every sceptic anywhere to be found, will 
be willing to place his feet upon the lower step of the as- 
cending stairway ; this extremely conservative step being 
merely this, that Christ's miracles, arid, may we not add, 
all the other miracles recorded in the Bible, owing to their 
reputable surroundings, their lofty character, their benev- 
olent purpose, and the results that followed their working, 
are probable, provided that such an event as a miracle is 
possible ? 

CHRIST'S MIRACLES ARE CERTAIN IF THEY ARE POSSIBLE. 

The step next in order leads to the proposition that 
Christ's miracles are not only probable, but they are also cer- 
tain, provided that such an event as a miracle is possible. 

Confining attention for a moment to our Lord's mira- 
cles, their credibility is found in the main to rest upon the 



BIBLE MIRACLES. 95 

testimony of men who, in their writings, claim to have 
been His intimate companions. 

Four of these witnesses have given us, with almost legal 
exactness, separate and somewhat minute records of the 
things they saw and heard ; one of whom, the third evan- 
gelist, an educated physician, deposes and says : 

" Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth 
in order a declaration of those things which are most 
surely believed among us, 

" Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the 
beginning w<=>re eye-witnesses, and ministers of the word ; 

" It seemed good to me, also, having had perfect under- 
standing of all things from the very first, to write unto 
thee in order, most excellent Theophilus : 

" That thou mightest know the certainty of those things 
wherein thou hast been instructed." 

It would be interesting, did time allow, to study sepa- 
rately the character of these disciples who have given their 
depositions, and also the character of the Old Testament 
writers, and the character of those who, under that dis- 
pensation, wrought miracles ; but, as this is not permitted, 
we hasten to the main question, which is this : 

Did those men, and others who were associated with 
them, whose moral character cannot be impeached, whose 
competency cannot be questioned, whose presence on the 
spot no one denies, and who sealed their testimony with 
their blood, severally, conjointly, and deliberately falsify 
respecting those remarkable events with which they were 
fully acquainted, which they claimed to have seen with 
their eyes, to have heard with their ears, and to have han- 
dled with their hands ? If Bible miracles are possible, is 
not such testimony strong proof of their certainty ? 

But it should be borne in mind still further, that this 
testimony, especially as to Christ's miracles, is corroborated 
by outside persons, who, in some instances, were hostile to 



96 BIBLE MIRACLES. 

those who wrote the Gospels. Those persons were freely 
permitted to witness the working of the miracles. In 
some instances they were wrought in their homes, and 
upon members of their families. 

In point of fact, the remarkable deeds of our Lord were 
rarely performed in secret; and, in the main, this is 
likewise true of all other Bible miracles. There were no 
appointed places ; there were no prepared instruments and 
appliances ; the miracles were wrought without apparent 
effort, " in the street and in the market-place, in the wilder- 
ness and on the sea, and by the sick man's bed and at the dead 
man's bier "; they were wrought upon any public occasion, 
and in all public places when opportunity permitted or 
circumstance required. In each place, and at all times, 
men were challenged to test and sift to the bottom the 
things they saw and heard. 

Men did apply their tests : they questioned and cross- 
questioned those upon whom the miracles were wrought. 
Our Lord's enemies tracked and tagged Him day and 
night to find some fault or flaw, or to discover some trick 
of legerdemain, but at length gave up all such efforts. So 
overwhelming were the facts in the case, that the Jews 
not only never denied the public miracles of our Lord, 
but affirmed them ; that is, they charged Him with work- 
ing them by magic and by satanic aid ; and they publicly 
condemned some of His most notable miracles because 
they were wrought upon the Sabbath day. Some of* those 
wonderful deeds were so well established that such early 
sceptics as Celsus, Julian, and Porphyry found it impossi- 
ble to deny them ; indeed, they made no attempt at denial. 
Their only attempt was to break the force of our Lord's 
miracles by recounting similar ones which had been re- 
ported of Persius, Inachus, Minos, and certain others. 

Not only these confessions, but likewise the conduct, of 
those outside parties, from first to last, have all the suggest- 



BIBLE MIRACLES. 97 

iveness and significance of an admission. The recorded 
conduct of the common people, and that of the Pharisees, 
and that of the Roman rulers, were such as would be ex- 
pected if what the apostles reported were true. 

It should also be noted that the Old Testament miracles 
have similar support. That is, the recorded conduct of 
Pharaoh and his hosts, that of Nebuchadnezzar and his 
princes, that of Belshazzar and his lords, that of Sennacherib 
and his army, that of Ahab and the priests of Baal, were 
precisely what would be expected if the supernatural trans- 
actions which the Old Testament writers reported were true. 
And further, that the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, and 
for some reason were suddenly emancipated, no one now 
questions ; that they passed many years in what is termed a 
wilderness, without the ordinary means of physical support, 
has ample confirmation ; that during their subsequent exile 
in Babylon, some of their number rose suddenly to high po- 
litical distinction, is now satisfactorily established by mon- 
umental history ; and that in some manner their great 
prophets obtained knowledge of future events a knowl- 
edge which did not find its verification until centuries af- 
terward is a fact which no student of prophecy and his- 
tory would think of denying. 

But these matters have even still further confirmation 
in certain commemorative rites and observances. 

The Christian Sabbath, the Christian Church, and the 
Lord's Supper are commemorative institutions. They are 
inseparably linked with the life, the death, and the resur- 
rection of Christ. They are unaccountable on any other 
grounds than those which have been put forth through all 
the centuries by the Christian Church, and they furnish, 
therefore, unanswerable evidence ; at least evidence of such 
a character as in other matters would be regarded as ample 
proof of the certainty of the events they commemorate. 

But with your indulgence we present one otl ler item of evi- 



98 BIBLE MIRACLES. 

dence for our Lord's miracles, and then, as lawyers say, we 
will sum up this part of the case. Said a gentleman to us 
not long since a gentleman who was a lawyer by profes- 
sion, whose reasoning powers appear to have been better 
than his acquaintance with the facts of religious history : 

" If it had been generally known in Jerusalem, as ortho- 
dox Christianity claims, that Jesus rose from the dead ; if 
at one time He was seen of more than five hundred per- 
sons, as Paul asserts ; if the apostles in Christ's name really 
wrought miracles, healing the sick and raising to life dead 
men ; and if there were such remarkable displays of power 
on the day of Pentecost as are recorded in the New Tes- 
tament, then almost everybody ought to have been con- 
vinced, and multitudes ought to have become Christians." 

We concede the force of this reasoning. For, of a cer- 
tainty, if what is reported in the New Testament is true, 
multitudes ought to have been convinced, and many, at 
least of the common people, ought to have espoused the 
Christian faith. 

The pertinent question, therefore, is this : What are the his- 
toric facts in the case ? The answer is, that notwithstand- 
ing the obstacles and perils that beset the path of those 
who embraced the new faith, yet such numbers did become 
Christians as would be expected, provided the remarkable 
events recorded in the New Testament actually took place. 

Tacitus, the Roman historian, speaking of the early 
Christians, whom he calls " detestable criminals," makes 
use of this language : 

" The author of their sect was Christus, who had been 
executed in Tiberius' time by the procurator Pontius Pi- 
late. This pestilential superstition, checked for a while, 
burst out again, not only through Judaea, the first seat of 
the evil, but even through Rome. First were arrested 
those who made no secret of their sect, and by this clew a 
vast multitude of others also." 



BIBLE MIRACLES. 99 

Pliny, the friend of Trajan and Tacitus, was sent to 
rule Bithynia. Perplexed at the great number of Chris- 
tians, he wrote to the Emperor Trajan to know what 
should be done ; for " I fear," he said, " that if the vast 
numbers who are implicated are put out of the way, my 
realms will be depopulated." 

" There is not a race of men," says Justin Martyr, " bar- 
barian or Greek, nay, of those who live in wagons, or who 
are nomads, or shepherds in tents, among whom prayers 
and eucharists are not offered to the Father and Maker 
of the universe, through the name of the crucified Jesus." 

" The word of our Master," says Clement, " did not re- 
main in Judsea as philosophy remained in Greece, but has 
been poured out over the whole world, persuading Greeks 
and barbarians alike, race by race, village by village, every 
city, whole houses, and hearers one by one ; nay, not a 
few of the philosophers themselves." 

" In all Greece, and in all barbarian races within our 
world," says Origen, " there are tens of thousands who 
have left their national laws and customary gods for the 
law of Moses and the word of Jesus Christ." 

" If you do not believe the miracles," says Augustine, 
"you must then believe that the world was converted 
without miracles ; and this would be a miracle." 

It thus appears that just such results followed the 
events recorded in the New Testament as were demanded 
by our friend the lawyer ; that is, within a few years after 
the death of Christ, vast numbers embraced the Christian 
doctrine, holding it with such firmness that they were 
willing to die in its defence. 

We are thus brought to the summing up of this second 
step in the general argument, which, in its application to 
the miracles of Christ, though at nearly every point it 
equally applies to all other Bible miracles, is this : 

First, it would be remarkable if a single intelligent and 



100 BIBLE MIRACLES. 

honest witness, with many motives to declare the truth, 
and with no motive to utter a falsehood, should neverthe- 
less prefer, even at great personal peril, to utter many 
improbable falsehoods. But repeatedly was this the case, 
unless the New Testament writers and the friends of Christ 
believed the miraculous events recorded. 

Second^ it would be still more remarkable if several 
competent, intelligent, and pious eye-witnesses should con- 
jointly, and at great personal peril, utter improbable false- 
hoods, and utter them in opposition to all the ordinary 
motives governing humanity. But such precisely was the 
case, unless the New Testament writers saw, or had the 
conviction that they saw, those facts which they have tes- 
tified to and recorded ; and convictions strong as were 
theirs are not easily accounted for except upon the sup- 
position that the facts had been witnessed. These convic- 
tions, unless the facts are true, are well-nigh as unaccount- 
able as are the miracles. 

Third) it would be still more remarkable, and well-nigh 
incredible, if such improbable falsehoods were confirmed 
by the direct and indirect testimony and confessions of 
those who were acknowledged enemies of our Lord and 
His apostles ; and 

Fourth) it would be still more remarkable indeed, 
no terms are strong enough to express the height of 
the improbability if such supposed falsehoods, uttered 
by good men at great personal peril, were also supported 
by existing civil and religious rites and institutions com- 
memorative of these events. But such, nevertheless, un- 
questionably is the startling improbability, unless it is ad- 
mitted that the New Testament writers testified correctly. 

Now, it must be confessed that these amazing improb- 
abilities squarely confront those who deny the truthfulness 
of the events testified to by the apostles. 

Standing by the ocean, one piece of seaweed floating 



BIBLE MIRACS. 

past would hardly attract attention ; much less would it 
enable one to make an unquestionable induction as to the 
tides. But when for five or six hours nearly every piece 
of seaweed, stick, and odd waif moves in the same direc- 
tion, then we confidently say, " The tides are at work." 

Thus, if some one man a stranger, perhaps, should 
report an unheard-of and remarkable event, we might 
question it. But when scores of men, who in other re- 
spects have proved themselves worthy of belief, affirm un- 
der the most solemn circumstances, and in the most solemn 
manner, that a given event took place under their eye- 
sight, and when every conceivable circumstance in any 
way related to that event strongly corroborates it, then 
ought not this tide-flow of testimony and of affairs, at least 
in the judgment of thoughtful men, utterly to sweep 
away all preconceived objections as to the certainty of the 
JSTew Testament miracles, provided, we repeat, that a mir- 
acle is a scientific possibility ? Indeed, might not one dis- 
credit the evidences of the tides as well as the evidences 
of Christ's miracles 1 

Or, presenting the case in still another form, we ask 
what would be thought of a jury of twelve men who 
would render a verdict against the most solemn deposi- 
tions of some of the noblest men who have ever walked 
the earth, depositions confirmed by a continuous array of 
corroborative evidence such as we have presented ? We 
venture the statement, that if any lawyer should present a 
case supported by such evidence to twelve men ; if he 
should also clearly prove to those men that the events 
testified to were scientifically possible ; and if those men, 
in the face of such corroborated testimony, should return 
a verdict not in accordance with the evidence presented, 
that lawyer and that court would be appalled. 

The lawyers in that court-room who were acquainted 
with the acknowledged laws of evidence, would look into 



102 BIBLE MIRACLES. 

one another's faces bewildered ; the judge on the "bench 
would refuse to believe his eyes and ears. After a few 
moments' silence, he might well dismiss the court with 
this single injunction : " Gentlemen, you are discharged ; 
the mission of all civil courts on earth is ended." We in- 
sist, therefore, that the magnificent weight of this testi- 
mony from the lips and pens of truthful and intelligent 
eye-witnesses, confirmed by enemies, confirmed by monu- 
mental rites, confirmed by civil and religious observances, 
confirmed by contemporaneous history, confirmed by co- 
ordinate transactions, which took place in different parts of 
the Roman empire, is matched by no evidence which has 
ever yet been adduced in support of any other fact, or any 
other grouping of facts, found recorded in human history. 
Such, my hearers, is the chain of evidence as yet un- 
broken by ancient or modern sceptics, which the Christian 
Church presents to the world in support of the certainty 
of Christ's miracles. 

THE MIKACLES OF CHRIST ARE POSSIBLE. 

The first step in this argument is, that Christ's miracles 
&TQ probable if they are possible. The second step is, that 
Christ's miracles are certain if they are possible. The po- 
sition now reached is the third step in the ascending stair- 
way, a position upon which all that has preceded is left 
to stand or fall, and is this : the miracles of Christ are 
possible. 

Whether miracles are violations of the laws of nature, 
as is claimed by not a few writers upon this subject, or 
whether they are only violations of the recognized order 
of nature, as is claimed by several noted theologians, are 
questions relatively unimportant ; they are technical rather 
than vital ; they are questions never raised by our Lord or 
His disciples. 

That which one is called upon to establish in this dis- 



BIBLE MIRACLES. 103 

cussion is not, therefore, a satisfactory definition of mira- 
clee, but the presentation of evidence that certain deeds 
which, have been called miracles those of absolute control, 
as when at the word of Christ the sea became as a pave- 
ment and the tempest as a child of obedience ; or those of 
creative power, as when, at the word of Christ, five thou- 
sand men, besides women and children, without visible 
supply, were abundantly fed ; or those of healing the sick 
and of raising the dead were actually wrought by our 
Lord. The point of vital issue is this : If these deeds can 
l^e shown to be possible, then the question whether or not 
they are miracles, and the question whether or not mira- 
cles are possible, will take care of themselves. 

We may be a little more explicit, applying this thought 
to the Old as well as to the JS~ew Testament miracles : If 
one can prove beyond a doubt that the waters of the Red 
Sea were so parted as to make a wall on the right hand 
and on the left, and that the parting and water-walls were 
such that the Israelites could pass over the sea-bed dry- 
shod ; or if one can prove beyond question that the whole 
celestial machinery was arrested for nearly a day, so that 
there was no day like that before it or after it ; or if one 
can prove that Elijah called down fire from heaven, and 
that the water in the trenches about the altar burst out in 
flames and burned dry ; or if one can prove with perfect 
clearness that Jesus was dead, that He lay dead in His 
grave until the third day after His interment, that He 
afterward willed Himself to life and with a mutilated 
body walked among His disciples for forty days ; then, 
we repeat, despite any number of philosophic definitions, 
common sense will be perfectly satisfied that miracles are 
possible and that miracles have been wrought. 

The attitude of the believer and of the unbeliever to- 
ward each other can now very easily be stated. 

Says the man of faith : " I believe the miracles of the 



104 BIBLE MIRACLES. 

Bible because of their character, and because they are well 
authenticated by testimony and monuments." 

But the objector replies : " I do not believe those mira- 
cles because, by universal admission, they are ' violations 
of fixed laws,' or they are ' effects contrary to the estab- 
lished constitution of things,' and are, therefore, impossi- 
ble and incredible." 

The man of faith continues : " I believe the mir- 
acles of the Bible, and I believe them because they are 
probable, and because they are firmly authenticated, and 
also because certain events have taken place in the history 
of the universe, which, at the time they took place, were 
just as i contrary to the established constitution of things,' 
and were just as ' manifest violations of the operations of 
the known laws of nature,' as are the miraculous transac- 
tions recorded in both the Old and New Testaments." 

The closing rejoinder of the unbeliever is this : " If it 
can be clearly proved that anything has happened in the 
universe that is as contrary to the established constitution 
or course, of things as are Bible miracles, then I will ac- 
cept those miracles upon the evidence presented." 

Again the believer answers : u I will present proof that 
is clear, ample, and unanswerable, that such events have 
taken place, or else I will surrender the entire argument." 

And I appeal to you, my hearers, if in this statement 
the believer has not put his case fairly and reasonably. 

We are, therefore, henceforth to search simply for es- 
tablished facts. As our time is limited, we need not take a 
broad sweep, though there is no end to the facts that could 
be employed for our purpose, but will confine attention to 
the advent of man and woman on the earth. In a word, 
there was a time when not a man could be found here. 
Not a bone, not a solitary relic of man can be found after 
reaching certain boundary lines in geological history. 

Indeed, there was a time when man could no more have 



BIBLE MIRACLES. 105 

lived on the earth than he can now live in a furnace where 
iron is boiling hot. There is, therefore, no denying the 
statement that the appearance of man on the earth was 
something contrary to the then existing order of things. 
Indeed, in some respects the origin of man on the earth is 
the oddest thing that ever has happened, and, in some re- 
spects, is the miracle of miracles. The origin of man is 
at least the most unaccountable riddle which modern sci- 
ence has undertaken to solve ; and, seemingly, science is 
no nearer solving that riddle than she was fifty years ago. 

And the creation of the first woman is full as puzzling 
to the sceptical scientist as is the creation of the first man. 
The troublesome difficulty is thus stated : 

There could have been no first child without a woman ; 
and there could have been no first woman unless she had 
grown from a child, or had been full formed by supernat- 
ural power. The first child, or the first full-grown woman, 
were interruptions in the then existing order of things. 
Once they were not here ; afterward they were here, and 
are now here. And we defy the whole world of science 
to throw a solitary ray of light upon the creation of the 
first man or the first woman apart from creation by super- 
natural interposition. The creation of the first man 
and woman is one of the solid granite walls against 
which infidelity will yet beat its brains out, provided it 
continues to make its assaults upon the scientific possi- 
bility of Bible miracles. 

"Oh, no; you are going too far," some one replies. 
" The creation or origin of things is easily accounted for 
upon naturalistic grounds. The earth was evolved ; then 
vegetable life came by spontaneous generation ; then lower 
forms of animal life were evolved from vegetable life ; 
and then the higher animals and man, without any mirac- 
ulous interposition, were in an orderly way evolved from 
the lower animals." 



106 BIBLE MIRACLES. 

Now, even if these claims were admitted, still the argu- 
ment in hand would retain largely its force : for vegetable 
life, which once was not, afterward was ; and animal life, 
which once was not, afterward was ; and man, who once 
was not, afterward was. 

Here, therefore, in the then existing and apparently es- 
tablished constitution of things, were breaks and interrup- 
tions, three of them perfectly distinct from one another 
so far as science can judge ; and they were of a character 
such that no human mind could have anticipated either of 
them. No deeds wrought by our Lord were matters of 
more surprise than was the appearance on the earth of 
vegetable life, or of animal life, or of human lif e. Hence, if 
the unbeliever insists that the coming of life on earth was 
a natural evolution at the time it came, then all the be- 
liever need say in reply is, that the miracles of Christ, 
which are no more wonderful than the origin of life, were 
also a natural evolution at the time they were wrought. 
In* other words, the hypothesis that the New Testament 
miracles were the product of a natural evolution at the 
hands of Christ has for its support every scientific fact and 
every form of argument that can be employed in support 
of the hypothesis that the origin of life is the product of a 
natural evolution. Therefore, the integrity of the Bible 
account of the miracles of Christ (and essentially the same 
may be said of the Old Testament miracles), upon the 
ground of their impossibility, cannot be questioned by any 
advocate of evolution and natural selection, without endan- 
gering the foundations upon which he is seeking to build his 
superstructure, which is antagonistic to revealed religion. 

But in this concession we have granted to the unbe- 
liever, for the sake of the argument, far more than is 
needful. For, in the light of recent thought, these claims 
of spontaneous generation and evolution by natural selec- 
tion, upon which materialism is entirely dependent, are 



BIBLE MIRACLES. 107 

nothing but the merest unauthorized assumption. It is 
guesswork in the face of stupendous difficulties. There 
is not a man of science on earth to-day who claims that 
there is a particle of reliable evidence that life originally 
came into this world through spontaneous generation. The 
assumption has been made, but the evidence is utterly want- 
ing. Nor is there a noted man of science anywhere to be 
found, deist, atheist, or agnostic, who claims that there is 
a shred of evidence that life has ever appeared on this 
earth except through the presence of antecedent life. 

The distinguished advocates of spontaneous generation, 
one after another, have been completely silenced. The 
unbelieving scientist, with shortened breath and with 
blanched cheek, can see at present one alternative only 
one divine interposition or spontaneous generation ! 
But the closing words of Professor Tyiidall's lecture on 
" The Origin of Life," before the Royal Institute at Lon- 
don, leave at present no alternative ; and the intelligent sci- 
entist now stands face to face with divine interposition, 
and nothing else. " This discourse," says the professor, 
" is but a summing up of eight months' incessant labor. 
From the beginning to the end of the inquiry, there is not 
a shadow of evidence of spontaneous generation. There 
is, on the contrary, overwhelming evidence against it. 
.... I am led inexorably to the conclusion that in the 
lowest as in the highest organized creatures, the method 
of nature is, that life shall be the issue of antecedent life." 

But this admission and conclusion of Professor Tyndall 
call for the interposition of the Author of all life ; and the 
moment His interposition is admitted, then every difficulty 
vanishes, and the path of every true believer is as bright as 
sunlight can make it. For, if divine interposition can make 
a world, then divine interposition can control it and all its 
affairs after it is made ; if divine interposition amid primeval 
darkness can call into existence a universe of flames ( u star- 



108 BIBLE MIRACLES. 

stuff"), then divine interposition can send flames from the 
sky to light the altar built by Elijah ; if divine interposi- 
tion can fashion and send forth every planet and every 
star on its stupendous journey, and can bind star and 
planet in their courses, and can arrest in their develop- 
ment astronomical and geological epochs, then divine in- 
terposition can arrest other processes, and cause the sun to 
stand still over Gibeon, and the moon over the valley of 
Aijalon ; if divine interposition can stir the winds of the 
Sea of Galilee, then divine interposition can hush them 
when they are stirred ; if divine interposition can build 
healthy physical tissues in our hodies, then divine interpo- 
sition can restore them to health when they are sick of 
fever or palsy ; if divine interposition, out of crude ma- 
terials, can build an eye so that it can see, then divine in- 
terposition can give sight to that eye after it has become 
blind ; if divine interposition can, from the dust of the 
ground, build a human body, and animate it, and present 
to the world its Adam, divine interposition can reanimate 
the full-formed and dead body of Lazarus and present it 
to his weeping sisters. 

The question, therefore, as to miracles is not, at the 
present date, one of possibility. The only question is 
this : Were there at the inauguration of the Jewish relig- 
ion, and at certain critical periods in the history of that 
religion, and were there at the inauguration of the Chris- 
tian religion, purposes of sufficient magnitude to justify 
divine interposition ? When that question is -settled, the 
whole matter as to miracles is settled. And your judg- 
ment, my Christian brother, on the question whether it 
were wise for God to interpose and work miracles in the 
interest of the Jewish and of the Christian religions, is of 
just as much value as is the judgment of David Hume, 
Benedict Spinoza, Thomas Paine, Theodore Parker, or 
Robert Ingersoll. 



BIBLE MIRACLES. 109 

Are we through ? Nearly, but not quite. For there is 
one straw that extreme scepticism will struggle to clutch 
before sinking. It is this : though the hope of establish- 
ing the hypothesis of spontaneous generation has for years 
been a vanishing one, now altogether extinguished in 
the minds of the most scientific men, still, " maybe," u per- 
haps," as one noted writer on scientific matters lately has 
reasoned, science will yet discover a way of producing 
life by spontaneous generation. O Science ! are you 
reduced to such straits ? " Maybe," " perhaps," on the 
lips of modern science is nonsense. When science will 
present something beside such groundless vagaries, we will 
listen ; not till then. 

The entire scope of the discussion is now fully before 
us, and is this : 

First. Christ's miracles (we confine the conclusion to 
His miracles, because, in the main, the argument has had 
reference to those rather than to the miracles of the Old 
Testament), owing to their lofty character, their noble ob- 
ject, their beneficent results, and their connection with 
Christ and Christianity, 2HQ probable if they are possible. 

Second. Christ's miracles, owing to the massive chain 
of evidence in their support, consisting of testimony, tra- 
ditions, monuments, and perpetuated observances, are 
credible if they are possible. 

Third. That Christ's miracles are possible is a scientific 
fact placarded upon every new order of things that has 
come into this universe since the dawn of light. There- 
fore, Christ's miracles are possible, and they are probable, 
and they are certain. 

I could wish, at this point, that the great Cicero were 
here ; for, in view of the facts existing on every hand, he, 
with an eloquence grand, like that of yonder sea, would 
say to the little sceptics and to the blatant scoffers of this 
city and everywhere : " There is the argument in support 
of the miracles of Christ ; take it, and break it if you can." 



PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION. 

WILLIAM DINWIDDIE, D.D. 

GOD hath spoken to us in His works of creation. 
" Through faith we understand that the worlds were 
framed by the word of God, so that things which are 
seen were not made of things which do appear " (Heb. xi. 
3). " By the word of the Lord were the heavens made ; 
and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth." 
" For He spake, and it was done ; He commanded, and it 
stood f ast " (Ps. xxxiii. 6,. 9). " The heavens declare the 
glory of God ; and the firmament showeth His handywork. 
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night show- 
eth knowledge. There is no speech nor language where 
their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through 
all the earth, and their words to the end of the world " 
(Ps. xix. 1-4). " For the invisible things of Him from the 
creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by 
the tilings that are made, even His eternal power and God- 
head " (Rom. i. 20). The creation is not now the scene 
of order and beauty that it was when it came fresh from 
the hands of the Beneficent Creator. It is made subject 
to vanity, and the whole of it groan eth and travaileth in 
pain together until now, in earnest expectation awaiting 
the manifestation of the sons of God, when the creation 
itself also shall be delivered into the liberty of the glory 
of the children of God. Still, even in its present condi- 
tion, it gives such manifestation of God as to leave men 
without excuse in their sin (Rom. i. 20 ; viii. 19-22). 

God hath also spoken to us by His Son, by Him who is 
(110) 



PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETA TION. Ill 

the Word. " In the beginning was the "Word, and the 
Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same 
was in. the beginning with God " (John i. 1, 2). " And 
the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we be- 
held His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the 
Father) full of grace and truth." " No man hath seen 
God at any time ; the only-begotten Son, which is in the 
bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him " (John i. 
U, 18). 

And this declaration or manifestation is clearer and 
fuller than that made in the creation. For the Son by 
whom God hath spoken to us in these last days is the 
brightness of His glory and the express image of His per- 
son. He said of Himself, " He that hath seen me, hath 
seen the Father." 

In the third place, God hath spoken to us in His written 
Word, the Scriptures, which not only tell us of His power 
and Godhead, and of His glory as embodied in His Son, 
but they express to us in the language of men, with all 
the impressiveness to us of human speech, and with great 
amplitude of detail, who God is, what He has done, and 
what He will do according to the purposes of His own 
most wise, gracious, loving, and holy will in execution of 
plans as comprehensive as the universe and reaching 
from before the foundation of the world unto and 
through the ages to come. In this precious treasure 
committed to our keeping for our guidance and the sus- 
tenance of our spiritual life, men of every class and con- 
dition of life, widely separated in time and place, kings, 
statesmen, warriors, poets, orators, prophets, priests, plough- 
men, fishermen, sailors, masters, servants, men, women, 
and children, doctors, rustics, are all used through the 
mighty energies of the Holy Spirit to declare to us the 
wonderful works and ways of God. 



112 PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETA TION. 

It is the same God, the one only living and true God, 
who speaks to us in all these ways. It is God with whom 
iis no variableness nor shadow of turning, the same from 
everlasting to everlasting. And, therefore, all these mani- 
festations of Himself, made by Himself, must be in per- 
.feet harmony. Whatever we find revealed to us of the 
works and ways of God in creation, must be in complete 
accord with what is declared to us about Him by His Son, 
and with all that is written about Him in the God-breathed 
Scriptures of truth. 

When, therefore, the scientist, fresh from the study of 
some part of the creation, propounds a theory which seems 
to be in contradiction to what the Scriptures teach, let the 
children of God possess their souls in calmness, and pa- 
tience, and faith. Shall the children of the God of truth 
who hold from Him the Scriptures of truth not be always 
ready to welcome truth, new or old, from any quarter ? 
Only let them be sure that it is the truth which they wel- 
come. If new truth has been discovered by any, it cannot 
possibly contradict any word of Scripture. Let God's 
children have a simple but sublime confidence in the final 
triumph of His Word over every attack against it, covert 
or open, from men in their ignorance and folly, or from 
Satan with his plausible insinuations and denials begun in 
Eden. 

And if we have imported into Scripture our own 
thoughts, instead of receiving from it God's thoughts, 
we ought to be thankful to any one who should dispos- 
sess us of our prejudices and misconceptions. 

The history of geological theories furnishes many illus- 
trations of this point. Theory after theory has been given 
forth to the world, with abundance of self-confidence and 
pretension, only to be displaced and laid aside in a short 
time as mere rubbish to be looked at occasionally as a part 
of the history of human thought, as curious and amusing 



PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETA TION. H3 

as the frantic efforts of the Ptolemaic system to explain 
the movements of the heavenly bodies. 

Remember what progress has been made in the sciences, 
of geography, astronomy, and geology. At almost every 
step in new discovery many defenders of Scripture have 
been thrown into panic for fear the foundations should be 
destroyed. But the eternal rock of God's truth still rises 
in solid strength and majesty above all the waves and 
storms of controversy. And so will it continue to the 
end, for He hath said : " All flesh is as grass, and the 
glory of man as the flo\ver of grass. The grass with- 
ereth and the flower thereof falleth away, but the word of 
the Lord endureth forever." 



WHAT IS THE REAL WOED OF GOD? 

This question ought to have a fair, clear, and distinct 
answer. Doubtless God has exercised a special provi- 
dence in regard to His Word which is so important and 
precious a treasure to His dear children. But as a matter of 
fact we know that He has not wrought a perpetual miracle 
in making every copy of the original Scriptures, and every 
translation to be infallibly accurate. This treasure has been 
in earthen vessels. We know, for example, that there are 
various readings in the manuscripts. It is wonderful that 
all of them together impair no vital doctrine. We know, 
too, that the Septuagint version which was in common 
use and quoted by the apostles, is far from being an accu- 
rate version of the Hebrew. But we can bless God that 
this and any version which has ever had currency, has 
enough of accuracy to retain the life-giving power of God's 
Word so as to guide those who devoutly received it into 
the way of life. 

As a foundation, then, for the true interpretation of the 
Scriptures, the wise Christian will gladly and fearlessly 



114: PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION. 

avail himself of all help from manuscripts, versions, quota- 
tions, and commentaries, to put himself, after the most 
searching inquisition, in possession of the original text, as 
nearly as may be, and when the text is thus ascertained on 
the same principles as he would ascertain the text of any 
other ancient writing, let him sit down with such loving 
reverence to study and receive it, as becomes man and 
gives due honor to God, the author. 

We learn from the Scriptures themselves what they are. 
They tell us that they are inspired, " God-breathed "; 
" holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy 
Ghost." David in his last words said, " The Spirit of the 
Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue" 
(2 Sam. xxiii. 2). Isaiah had written of revelations not 
fully understood by him (1 Pet. i. 10-12). " Eye hath 
not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the 
heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them 
that love Him." Of these same things, Paul, with the 
larger measure of the Spirit belonging to this age, the 
age of the Church, says : " But God hath revealed them 
unto us by His Spirit : for the Spirit searcheth all things, 
yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the 
things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ? 
even so the things of God knoweth no man (literally, no 
one), but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not 
the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God ; 
that we might know the things that are freely given to us 
of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words 
which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost 
teacheth ; comparing spiritual things with spiritual *' (or 
" communicating spiritual things by spiritual means") (1 
Cor. ii. 10-13). 

That is to say, the full revelation of the Scriptures in 
this age of the Church is the thoughts of the Omniscient 
Spirit Himself revealed to the writers of Scriptures, un- 



PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION. 115 

derstood by them fully as having the mind of Christ, and 
communicated to us by them not in words of their own 
selection, but in words of perfect, divine fitness, because 
chosen by the Holy Ghost. 

Let us take apart and look distinctly at the truths given 
us by the Spirit in this wonderful Scripture. 

1. No one knows the things of God but the Spirit of 
God. He knows them perfectly. 

2. He reveals them to those whom He appoints to com- 
municate them. 

3. Those to whom they are so revealed in this age, 
know them when so revealed. Not as the prophets of old 
who searched diligently to understand what the Spirit of 
Christ which was in them signified by His revelations sur- 
passing all that had entered into man's heart. 

4:. Those chosen for this purpose communicate these 
revelations to God's people in, words of human speech, yet 
not of their own choosing, but chosen by the Holy Spirit. 
"What a rock of defence and security for the truth and in- 
tegrity of the Scriptures amid all the waves and storms of 
doubt and unbelief and cavil ! 

What difficulty, therefore, can there be in the interpre- 
tation of the Scriptures thus given to us from God ? They 
are written in the language of men, in words of the Spirit's 
choosing, and therefore of divine fitness. Men, with all their 
imperfection of knowledge and of expression, can write 
words clearly intelligible to men. Shall He, then, that made 
the tongue not speak so that men may clearly understand ? 
The difficulty is from men and not from God. And the 
Scriptures show us what the difficulty is. " The natural 
man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God : for 
they are foolishness unto him : neither can he know them, 
because they are spiritually discerned " (1 Cor. ii. 14). 

Men in their natural state have "the understanding 
darkened, being alienated from the life of God through 



116 PRINCIPLES OF FNTERPRETATION. 

the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of 
their heart." But he that is spiritual has the mind of 
Christ (1 Cor. ii. 15, 16 ; Eph. iv. 18). 

The Spirit is as necessary, therefore, for the reception of 
the truth by us, as for its communication to us. 

We turn now to consider what the Scriptures tell us of 
their effect on those who receive the truth. 

1st. They communicate life. The Son of man is the 
sower of the word. The good seed are the children of 
the kingdom. " The words that I speak unto you, they 
are spirit and they are life." Men are born again not of 
corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God 
that liveth and abideth forever. And this is the word 
which is preached by the Gospel. Born of water and of 
the Spirit simply means born of the word and of the Spirit, 
the water being the emblem of the word. And James 
writes : " Of His own will begat He us with the word of 
truth." Life comes to us through the word of God. 

2d. The word of God cleanses. "Now ye are clean 
through the word which I have spoken unto you," is said 
in close connection with " Every branch in me that beareth 
fruit, He cleanseth it that it may bring forth more fruit." 
It is the same process in all God's children. So the Lord 
prays : " Sanctify them through Thy truth ; Thy word is 
truth." And the pattern of our sanctification is His own. 
He truly lived by every word that proceedeth out of the 
mouth of God. Hence, His life was spotlessly clean and 
pure. 

3d. The Scriptures also enlighten. "Thy word is a 
lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." " The en- 
trance of Thy words giveth light ; it giveth understanding 
unto the simple " (Ps. cxix. 105, 130). God's word is His 
own eye looking into the inmost depths of the soul. For 
immediately after telling us that "the word of God is 
quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged 



PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETA TION. 

sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul 
and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a dis- 
cerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," it goes 
on to saj, " Neither is there any creature that is not mani- 
fest in His sight ; but all things are naked and opened unto 
the eyes of Him with whom we have to do " (Heb. iv. 
12, 13). 

4th. The word of God is also the food of God's chil- 
dren by which the life communicated by the word grows 
by it from spiritual infancy to Christian maturity. We 
are exhorted, laying aside all malice, and all guile, and 
hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, to desire 
the sincere milk of the "word that we may grow thereby, 
unto salvation. All thorough principles of interpretation, 
therefore, lie deep down, imbedded and embodied in 
spiritual experience. A necessary and the best possible 
preparation for the interpretation of the Scriptures is that 
one should know in himself the effects of their power. 
We believe and therefore speak, the Psalmist and Paul 
agree in saying. The word, to be felt in the full measure 
of its power, even when preached by Paul, the chiefest of 
the Apostles, is to be taught and received, not as the word 
of men, but as it is in truth the word of God, which ef- 
fectually worketh also in them that so believe. Gram- 
matical and critical skill in regard to the forms of the lan- 
guage, knowledge of history, geography, and antiquities, 
furnishing matter of illustration, these are not to be un- 
dervalued nor despised, but eagerly availed of by all who 
love the Scriptures ; but the highest attainments in any or 
all of these, as a qualification for interpreting the real 
meaning of the Scriptures, are not worthy to be compared 
with the life-giving, cleansing, enlightening, and strength- 
ening effects of the word of God experienced in one's 
own soul. We know that in the last days perilous times 
shall corne, and doubtless they are already coine, when 



118 PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETA TION. 

evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiv- 
ing and being deceived, and it is the sense of this as being 
now upon us that has called together this conference. But 
we have God's perfect resources provided for those times, 
the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make us wise unto 
salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus, and the 
meaning of those Scriptures is to be confirmed to us by 
the character of those from whom we learn the truth. 
" Continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and 
hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned 
them." The safe interpreter of Scripture to us can only 
be he who exemplifies the effects of their power in him- 
self. It is a wise judgment that, as a rule, one cannot go 
beyond his own spiritual experience of the truth in ex- 
pounding it to others. 

How sorrowful, in view of these considerations, to look 
over the " Christian world," as it is called, in most con- 
tradictory terms, and find the favorite and trusted exposi- 
tors of the Scriptures to large circles of professing Chris- 
tians, to be men ignorant or bitterly hostile in regard to 
the plainest teachings of God's word on some, and often- 
times on many of the most important lines of truth 
blind leaders of the blind, and both falling deeper and 
deeper into the ditch ! 

CHRIST'S USE OF THE SCEIPTUEES. 

The view of the word of God thus given, and the 
deepest principles of interpretation, have their profound- 
est illustration in the use made of the Scriptures by the 
Lord himself. "We have no evidence that He ever read 
any other book than the Scriptures, but His teachings are 
full of these. He lived in them. There was with Him 
unquestioning acceptance of the Jewish Canon, of the 
law, the prophets, and the Psalms. Of the law He said 
not one jot or tittle should fall away, but all should be 



PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETA TION. 119 

fulfilled ; from Isaiah Ixi. He reads the precious summary 
of His own gracious work, and says to them in the syna- 
gogue at Nazareth, at the opening of His public ministry, 
" This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears." Men 
have had most dispute as to the authority of Daniel's 
writings, of all the prophets, but Christ spoke of him as 
" Daniel the prophet." Men in our day, who claim, too, 
to be Christian teachers, have refused to the Pentateuch 
any higher character than that of a clumsy fabrication of 
post-exilic times, without a shred of the authority of 
Moses in its composition, except so far as his name is used 
in it to give currency to a " pious fraud." But the least 
to be regarded, in their opinion, of all the five books of the 
Pentateuch, Deuteronomy, was the word of God to Christ 
in His temptation ; and with the sword of the Spirit gath- 
ered from this armory and from this alone, He put Satan 
to defeat. From one of the Psalms He quotes a saying : 
"Ye are gods"; which, with all the difficulty it may 
still present to our understanding, is to be accepted by us, 
as it was by Him, as a part of the Scriptures " which can- 
not be broken." His whole teaching is studded with 
allusions to almost every part of Scripture, and with 
especial distinctness to those against which men have most 
cavilled. He confounded the Pharisees by quoting from 
the 110th Psalm, and asking them how Christ according 
to it could be David's Lord, and yet his son. He refuted 
the heresy of the Sadducees from the very name God had 
given Himself when He spoke to Moses from the bush. 
In His most intimate communications to His disciples the 
Scriptures are ever before His mind and used by Him for 
their instruction. In the most solemn hours of conflict, 
trial, and suffering for Himself, the word of God is ever 
in His heart and on His lips, and the last word He uttered 
on the cross is a quotation from the 31st Psalm. After 
His resurrection, to the two disciples on the way to 



120 PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETA TION. 

Emmaus, "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He 
expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things con- 
cerning Himself," under two heads, relating to His suffer- 
ings and to His glory, thus binding all Scripture together 
in one grand unity, Christ himself being the one great 
theme. Of these two disciples He opened the under- 
standing that they might understand the Scriptures. Many 
a Christian, doubtless, in reading of this discourse, has 
wished that he had a record of it to guide him in the 
study of the Old Testament. But we may be assured 
that if needed, it would have been given to us, and its 
substance is without question ministered to all God's 
children who cease to grieve the Spirit and give them- 
selves up to Him to be taught according to the Saviour's 
word, "He shall teach you all things and bring to your 
remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you." 

And so even after His resurrection we see from the 1st 
chapter of Acts that the Scriptures were the great theme of 
His instructions during the forty days, and His last com- 
munication to His Church is full of references to the 
words previously given to His Church in the Old Testa- 
ment and by Himself and His apostles. 

What enemy to the truth can ever break the force of 
Christ's own example in using the Scriptures, so as to lead 
God's children to disregard or set aside any part of the 
precious word of God 3 And what methods or systems 
of interpretation that neglect or depreciate any part of the 
book of God which was an organic whole to Christ, can 
find acceptance with His Church ? 



DIFFICULTIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. 

Alleged Discrepancies of the Gospels. A great mul- 
titude of the supposed difficulties in the Gospels dis- 
appear at once when we abandon the utterly unworthy, 



PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETA TION. 121 

but not uncommon view of the four lives of Christ, 
that any or all of them are fragmentary and imperfect 
in any sense. Such a view is in entire contradiction 
of all that has been said in reference to the character 
and authorship of God's Word. Each gospel is perfect 
in itself for the end the Spirit had in view in giving it. 
No attempt is made to give all the details of Christ's life 
or to record all He says. The contrary is expressly stated. 
Loving students of the Scriptures, during the last half 
century especially, have brought to light that each gospel 
looks at Christ's life from its own peculiar point of view 
which imparts to each a particular object and character, and 
this being ascertained and kept in mind, the materials 
selected and used from the life of Christ in each gospel are 
all seen to be in beautiful harmony with the end proposed. 
Thus Matthew traces the genealogy of Christ as the 
Son of David and the Son of Abraham, the gospel being 
Jewish in character, and presenting Christ as their Mes- 
siah. Luke, who presents Christ as the Son of man in 
His grace to the whole world, traces His genealogy up to 
Adam, the father of the race. The omission of the as- 
cension scene from Matthew's gospel is explained in the 
same way. Many have been surprised that John's gospel 
makes no mention of the stupendous scene of the trans- 
figuration of which he was an eye-witness, nor of the 
sufferings in Gethsemane, nor of the cry on the cross, 
" My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me ? " But 
these things all belong to the history of Christ as the Son 
of man, not as the Son of God. While John's gospel 
itself tells us that it was written to this end, that " ye 
might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God." 

THE INSCRIPTION ON THE CKOSS. 

Men professing reverence for the Scriptures have been 
so perplexed with the difficulty of reconciling the accounts 



122 PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION. 

in the four Gospels of what was written on the cross, as 
to give up belief in verbal inspiration. But a patient ex- 
amination of the record of that inscription demonstrates 
no necessary contradiction between them. And it is clearly 
stated that the inscription was in three different languages 
Hebrew, Greek, and Latin and Matthew gives us only 
the accusation that was made against Christ in the in- 
scription. 

PETER'S DENIAL. 

With reference to the history of this, too, some have 
said it was impossible for us to reconcile the differing 
statements. Suppose it to be so. May our inability not 
be the result of our ignorance of some omitted fact or facts 
which would harmonize all? Independent, varying testi- 
mony of witnesses about a matter, proves their trustwor- 
thiness in so far as to show that there is no collusion 
among them, and without demonstration of contradiction 
we cannot discredit their testimony because of such vari- 
ations. 

It is fair, it is honest, and it is simply right and reverent 
to give such considerations their full force in meeting 
such difficulties in interpreting the word of God. 

ELOHIM AND JEHOVAH. 

What a noise has been made about the different names 
given to God in different parts of the Pentateuch ! For 
instance, in the first chapter of Genesis, and through three 
verses of the second chapter, the name uniformly given is 
Elohim, uniformly rendered God in the Authorized Version. 
Beginning at the fourth verse of the second chapter, uni- 
formly to the end of that chapter, another name is added, 
Jehovah, and the two rendered uniformly in the English 
Bible " the Lord God." Now. should we come to the 
study of these documents from the study of Niebuhr's dis- 



PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION. 123 

section and exposure of the lying fables of Greek and 
Bornaii history, to which form and color were given by 
national pride and vanity, and seek to dissect and expose 
the falsehoods of Jewish fables, as Niebuhr did for Greek 
and Roman, and with no more reverence in the study, we 
might reach and rest in the conclusions of this irreverent 
and presumptuous school of critics. One, however, would 
suppose that any critic who had the fear of God before him, 
and knew the reverent use which Christ made of the Pen- 
tateuch, would shudder thus to treat the word of God. 

But God's loving children will come to the study of the 
same words, and when He gives Himself a new name, they 
will reverently seek to find out what He means by it. And 
when they find the new name appears when He begins 
to deal with man on terms of special relationship, as en- 
dowed with privileges and placed in responsibility, and 
they find it the same name afterward used with His chosen 
nation to express the faithfulness of Him who was, and is, 
and is to come, the Eternal, they rejoice in the revelation. 
In the next chapter, too, Satan leaves out the precious new 
name when he speaks, and our first mother when speak- 
ing under his temptation ; but God still gives it to Him- 
self in all His tender and gracious dealing with those who 
have brought in sin and death upon all their race. And 
when in the next chapter on the birth of Cain, Eve thinks 
he is the seed of the woman who is to bruise the serpent's 
head, she says, " I have gotten a man from Jehovah." See 
how sweetly and discriminatingly both names are used in 
one short verse, chapter vii. 16 : " And they that went in, 
went in, male and female of all flesh, as God had com- 
manded him (God in relation to the animal creation) ; and 
the Lord (Jehovah) shut him in " (Jehovah in tender cove- 
nant faithfulness to His righteous servant). The little 
book of Jonah furnishes clear illustrations on the point, 
and so do the Psalms. 



124: PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION. 

Much is lost of precious truth to those who fail to ob- 
serve the same discriminating use of the name of God 
and of the Saviour in the New Testament also. God is the 
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our God 
and Father, as His first message to His disciples since 
His resurrection shows. Do these names mean nothing ? 
Could either be omitted here ? Or could either be substi- 
tuted for the other when only one is used? To many 
this might be done with no appreciable loss of truth, be- 
cause they have not found the sweet treasures locked up 
in these precious names. I can only find time to suggest 
passages worthy of most careful and loving study. Why 
in the garden, and also in a former anticipation of His suf- 
ferings, does Jesus call on His Father ? Again, why in the 
three hours of darkness on the cross does He say : " My 
God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me ? " Again, a 
most instructive use of both names is given in His dis- 
course with the woman at the well, showing the loving 
grace of the Father as He now seeks those to worship 
Him who shall worship Him in spirit and in truth, but 
in closest connection with this solemn word : " God is a 
Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in 
spirit and in truth." 

SHALL WE JUDGE THE WORD, OR SHALL THE WORD 
JUDGE US? 

It is matter of devout thanksgiving that God has so 
wonderfully preserved His word to us. So many manu- 
scripts of great antiquity, so many versions, so many quo- 
tations from it, that we have the means of ascertaining 
the original text with more accuracy than that of any 
other ancient writing whatsoever. Man, to whose hand 
this precious treasure was committed, has been so foolish 
and presumptuous as to tamper with it, taking from it 
what he did not like to find there, and adding to it what 



PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETA TION. 125 

God did not put there ; one passage assimilating to an- 
other in some respects like it ; all such additions and sub- 
tractions being blunders, every one of them, as for in- 
stance the assimilation of the Lord's prayer in Luke xi. to 
that in Matthew vi. When we have used all diligence to 
possess ourselves of the correct text as nearly as possible, 
how now shall we use it so as to interpret it aright to our- 
selves and to others ? The right attitude of soul for an 
interpreter is suggested in these words of the Lord Jesus : 
" He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath 
one that judgeth him. For the word that I have spoken, 
the same shall judge him in the last day." We come to 
the study of God's word aright, therefore, when, in an 
humble and reverent manner, we subject ourselves to its 
authority, and search ourselves with its light, judging our- 
selves by it instead of sitting in judgment upon it. This 
self -judgment in the light of the Scriptures, when fully 
made, will divest us of all glorying in the wisdom and 
learning of the world, will place us before God in the hu- 
mility and docility of little children, will strip us of the 
last trace of confidence in the flesh. The man, therefore, 
who has an inadequate sense of sin in general, and of his 
own sins and sin in particular, not having yet learned that 
deepest lesson in regard to sin which God at one time or 
other will teach to all His children, viz., " that in me (that 
is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing," such a man 
lacks essential qualifications for the thorough interpreta- 
tion of the word of God. Paul's experience in this regard 
is an example for the instruction of all God's children. 
Caught up to the third heaven, where he heard unspeaka- 
ble words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter ; when 
he came back to earth he was in danger of committing the 
extreme folly of being exalted above measure through the 
abundance of the revelations. So it was necessary, in the 
loving dealings of the Father, to humble him by the thorn in 



126 PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETA TION. 

the flesh sent him, the messenger of Satan to buffet him, to 
take out of him all the conceit of himself in supposing 
that in any energy of the flesh he could serve the Lord 
acceptably or efficiently. The trial was so sore, and so 
humbling, that he besought the Lord thrice to remove it. 
But the Lord in His love could and did not, but taught 
him : " My grace is sufficient for thee ; for my strength is 
made perfect in weakness." Every interpreter of the 
truth must, if he do his work thoroughly, learn the same 
lesson, " When I am weak, then am I strong," for thus 
only shall the power of Christ rest upon him. 

DISPENSATIONAL TEACHING. 

It is a very important principle of interpretation that 
the differences of dispensation should be observed. The 
two great dispensations are those of the law, and of grace. 
Under that of law, God proposes a perfect law as to what 
man in the flesh ought to do. Under that of grace, when 
man has crucified the Prince of Glory in his hatred of 
God without cause, God displays the riches of His grace 
in opening wide to men of every nation the door of access 
to Him, and calls men now by the Gospel to a place of 
nearness, fellowship, and intimacy with the Father and 
the Son unknown in previous ages. It was the glory of 
His people in the former dispensation to be called the ser- 
vants, and in exceptional cases, the " friends " of God. 
Now, " thou art no longer a servant, but a son, and be- 
cause ye are sons He hath sent forth the spirit of His Son 
into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Then Jews had 
pre-eminence over the nations in privileges and blessings, 
implying nearness and peculiar favor. Now, in this the 
Church age, the middle wall of partition is removed, and 
in the Church there is neither Jew nor Gentile, bar- 
barian, Scythian, bond nor free, and we all have access 
by one Spirit unto the Father. Instead of worshipping 



PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION. 127 

outside the veil, with no sacrifice adequate to purge the 
conscience, we now have boldness to enter into the holiest 
by the blood of Jesus, and having Him as an high-priest 
over the house of God, we are privileged to draw near 
with a true heart, in the full assurance of faith, having 
our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our 
bodies washed with pure water. We are all consecrated 
priests unto God ; all believers are a holy and a royal 
priesthood. 

And now to these considerations add the crowning glory 
of this age, that the Holy Spirit has come ; our Comforter, 
to abide with us forever ; to show us these things, and all 
things that the Father hath, as ours in fellowship with 
Christ, who baptizes all believers into one body, and builds 
them together as an habitation of God. About the com- 
ing of this Comforter, the Saviour said : " It is expedient 
for you that I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter 
will not come unto you." About the fruit of His presence 
in us in this age, He was speaking when He said : " He 
that believeth on me, from within him shall flow rivers of 
living waters." This is the great blessing of this dispensa- 
tion, as contrasted with the former one. Has any adequate 
expression been given to it in any creed of Christendom ? 
Has the truth about so vastly important a matter been 
taught line upon line and precept upon precept to all the 
people ? Or, have only the surface and the externals of 
the great characteristic doctrines of this age been taught to 
the mass of professing Christians \ Have men shunned to 
declare the whole counsel of God ? Are many professing 
Christians now like the company of believers Paul found at 
Ephesus, to whom he put the question, " Have ye received 
the Holy Ghost since ye believed ? " 

The system of teaching and interpretation which leaves 
out of view, or does not present with clearness and fullness 
in proportion to its prime importance, the characteristic 



128 PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETA TION. 

truth of the Christian dispensation, viz., the presence and 
indwelling of the Holy Spirit in every believer, and His 
baptizing them together as the body of Christ, and build- 
ing them together as the habitation of God, together with 
the immense enlargement in consequence of the privileges 
and responsibility of the Church, such teaching and 
interpretation egregiously fail to put due honor on the 
precious, perfect truth of the word of God revealed for 
this day. 

THE INTERPRETATION OF PROPHECY. 

It is a not uncommon opinion, though it may not be 
often distinctly and boldly avowed, that prophecy consti- 
tutes a small portion of the Scriptures, and an unimportant 
one in comparison with other portions deemed of greater 
and especially of more practical importance. It would be 
nearer the truth to say that all Scripture is prophetic. His- 
tory demonstrates nothing more clearly than this, that man 
has failed in every place of responsibility and privilege 
in which God has placed him. And man will continue 
thus to fail to the end, " For no flesh shall glory in God's 
presence." Scripture tells us that we do well to take heed 
to prophecy as " unto a light that shineth in a dark place." 
Man's failure brings in ruin and darkness. In that dark- 
ness arises the light of prophecy to teach all men as Israel 
was taught, " O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in 
me is thine help." Prophecy points to resources of help 
and blessing in God above and beyond all the failure of 
man and the ruin he has wrought. Look at the prote- 
vangelium from the Lord's own mouth in the garden, be- 
fore man has been banished from Eden : " It shall bruise 
thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." By one man's 
disobedience many have been made sinners. Sin has en- 
tered into the world, and death by sin, and has passed upon 
all men. How sweet and comforting in such darkness and 



PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION. 129 

misery to hear that most comprehensive of all prophecies, 
which still awaits fulfillment, when Satan shall be bruised 
under our feet shortly, and the kingdom of our Father 
shall come, and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven ! 

In the abounding iniquity of the last of the antediluvian 
days, there sounds out the prophecy of Enoch, the seventh 
from Adam, which was partially fulfilled with judgment 
of God upon the wicked in the days of J^~oah, but awaits its 
final and complete fulfillment when the Son of man shall 
come in the clouds of heaven in the day of the judgment 
and perdition of ungodly men. Look at the abounding 
iniquities of the Canaanites in the land when God gave to 
the long-tried faith of Abraham those prophetic promises 
of blessing to all the nations of the earth through the seed 
to be born to him, in fulfillment of which Israel shall yet 
blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit. 

As Israel embraces the abominable idolatries of the sur- 
rounding nations, see how, with prophecy after prophecy, 
light is shed on the darkness for all who will cleave to 
God. When the deeper darkness of the captivity comes, 
as the stars come out to view in the blackness of the night, 
so in the clear and full light of the prophecies of that 
period, God reveals times of future blessing, restoration, 
and glory yet to appear in their full and final measure of 
splendor. 

The prophecies of the Lord himself in the Gospels 
point to, and are a provision for, the days when iniquity 
shall abound and the love of many shall wax cold. And 
with what splendor of light and clearness in the midst of 
growing darkness come out the prophecies of Paul, Peter, 
Jude, and John, in days when there have already come 
many antichrists, and scoffers have arisen, and when the 
Lord himself, looking down over His Church with all- 
seeing eye, finds even Ephesus to have left its first love, 
Satan entrenched at Pergamos, the abomination of Balaam, 



130 PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETA TION. 

and the Nicolaitanes, and of Jezebel, rife and rampant, 
churches with a name to live, but dead, a few in the midst 
of the deepening darkness and the prevalence of Laodicean 
indifference to truth, holding fast to His word, and not 
denying His name. 

As the Lord thus provides prophecy as a light in the 
dark places for His people in all ages, and has interwoven 
it with the whole texture of Scripture, and as in this age 
of the Church the Spirit is given to guide us " into all the 
truth, and to shpw us things to come," what must we be 
compelled to say of interpretation of Scripture that ignores 
prophecy, or relegates it to a subordinate or unimportant 
place in the scheme, or turns from its study as from " an 
intricate and thorny path " ? Such interpretation, however 
orthodox and correct it may be, as far as it goes, must be 
grossly defective in preserving the proper proportions of 
truth. And it must be very different from the teaching 
of Paul, who taught even young converts to be themselves 
always waiting for God's Son to come from heaven, and 
to know perfectly, so that they needed not that he should 
write to them of the judgments impending over the world. 
They had no vain dreams of the conversion of the world, 
but knew perfectly that the day of the Lord would come 
as a thief in the night to the ungodly, just as the deluge 
came upon them in the days of Noah, and the fire from 
heaven in the days of Lot came upon the cities of the plain. 



THINGS NEW AND OLD. 

God hath spoken at sundry times and in divers meas- 
ures by the mouth of the prophets of past ages, but in 
these last days in fullness of revelation by His Son, and by 
those to whom having given the Spirit of His Son, He al- 
lotted the work of completing the Scriptures. The earlier 
utterances in divers measures of clearness and fullness are 



PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETA TION. 131 

all of divine fitness for their times, and for all time, es- 
pecially as serving to lead immature believers by easy, ele- 
mental lessons, as it were, into the possession of full knowl- 
edge. Let the Passover in the Old Testament and the 
]STew furnish an illustration. In 1 Cor. v. 7, we learn 
that Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us, and 
we are exhorted also to keep the feast of unleavened bread. 
Looking back to the institution of the Passover and of the 
feast following it, in Exodus xii. we find the Spirit going 
into a number of details with great particularity and mi- 
nuteness. Shall I throw these aside as of no importance, 
the whole ceremony being now obsolete and of no import- 
ance for me now to study ? ISTot if I properly honor and 
use God's word. 

Can a spiritual mind doubt that the Lord himself dwelt 
on all these details and explained them to the two disci- 
ples on the way to Emmaus ? Look at them. The pass- 
over is to begin the year. We, by nature the children of 
wrath, are dead in sin in God's sight until sheltered by faith 
in the blood of Christ our Passover. Then we begin to 
live. Again, the lamb must be without spot. So Christ 
offered Himself to God. Again, all the congregation of 
Israel killed the lamb together in the evening. Christians 
are not Christians in separation and isolation like grains of 
sand. They are brethren. The first instinct of the new 
life is to love the brethren. By this we know that we 
have passed from death to life. Again, the lamb was 
kept up four days before its sacrifice. How carefully 
during those days would parental love see to it that there 
was really no spot on the lamb. For on this hung the 
life of the first-born. Through what searching tests was 
Christ shown to be without spot before He offered Him- 
self! 

But the flesh of the lamb was to be eaten that night, to 
give strength for the journey. So now, the life of Christ 



132 PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRE TA TION. 

here in the body, received, believed in, incorporated into 
ours, gives strength to God's pilgrims through this world. 
We are only to walk where He walked before us. But 
not His life simply. " Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all 
with water, but roast with fire." Christ's precious, spot- 
less life, to avail for us, must pass through the fire. If we 
are to enjoy God's favor, Christ must bear the wrath due 
to our sin without the least mitigation. God made Him 
to be sin for us. Let Him eat the passover in haste, too ; 
His loins girded, His staff in His hand, and His shoes on 
His feet. How impressive the picture of a stranger and 
pilgrim here, journeying to the rest which remaineth for 
the people of God ! And the seven days' feast of unleav- 
ened bread to follow, with no leaven even in the houses. 
What a comment on " Be ye holy as He which hath called 
you is holy in all manner of conversation ! " 

It is one mind, one truth, one Christ from Genesis to 
Revelation. 

In conclusion, we have God's word. How shall we in- 
terpret it to others? Let its life-giving, cleansing, en- 
lightening, and strengthening power be experienced in 
our inmost souls, as men of God perfect, that is, full- 
grown, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Let 
each of us have a message to carry to others of what God 
through His word has done for us and how He has had mercy 
upon us. Let His whole word be translated by the power 
of the Spirit into our daily, our whole life, of spirit, soul, 
and body. Be saints, children of light, walking in the 
light as God is in the light Christ's living epistle, known 
'and read of all men. 

Have a simple, happy, childlike confidence in our Fa- 
ther's word, and a sublime assurance of its final vindica- 
tion and victory over all its foes. If men do and will op- 
pose, as we know they will, let us be gentle to all such, 
apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing them, in 



PRINCIPLES OF INTERPRETATION. 133 

Christlike pity to those whom the god of this world hath 
so blinded that they believe not. Christ himself wept 
over such. And in fullest, richest, sweetest fellowship 
with Him, with our Father, and with the Holy Spirit, 
may we ever walk, vessels meet for the Master's use, ever 
exemplifying His truth, His power resting on us, and we 
glorifying Him in our life, and, if He so will, in our 
death. 



ALLEGED OBJECTIONS TO INSPIKATION 
CONSIDEKED. 

WASHINGTON GARDNER. 

IN the treatment of our theme, it is important that we 
first determine what is to be understood by inspiration, 
that we may the more intelligently comprehend and con- 
sider the alleged objections thereto. 

"Divine inspiration of the sacred volume," has been 
declared to be "the first basis of Christian faith."* "It 
may be best defined," says another, " according to the 
representations of the Scriptures themselves as an extra- 
ordinary divine agency upon teachers while giving in- 
struction, whether oral or written, by which they were 
taught what and how they should speak." 

Still another f says : " It is the imparting of such a de- 
gree of divine influence, assistance, or guidance as enabled 
the authors of the several Books of Scripture to communi- 
cate religious knowledge without error or mistake." In 
the Book itself it is asserted that "Holy men of God 
spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." J And 
that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God." 
"We are not unmindful that this rendering of the last 
quoted passage is questioned, and that good authorities 
may be cited in favor of a different translation. We are 



* Guizot, " Meditations on the Essence of 
page 171. 
t Harmon's "Introduction," page 4. 

I 2 Peter i. 21. 2 Timothy ill 16. 

(134) 



ALLEGED OBJECTIONS TO INSPIRATION. 135 

also aware that very good authority exists for the transla- 
tion as given. 

We may say at the outset, that here, upon the word of 
God itself as found in both the Old and the New Testa- 
ments, do we discover the standard of inspiration which 
we propose to set up, and against which the objections we 
are to consider are alleged. In this discussion, Inspiration 
is not to be confounded with Revelation. While it is as- 
serted that all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, it 
is not asserted that all Scripture is revealed from the same 
source. All that was known was of course unrevealed, 
while all that was knowable, but unknown to the writer, 
and all that was unknowable, but which God desired to 
make known, were revealed ; so that inspiration embraces 
revelation, as the whole embraces all its parts. 

It is conceded that God inspired the doctrines set forth 
in the Bible, but that the biographical and historical de- 
tails are of man. With the advocates of this position, the 
theory is that the doctrines were unknown and unknow- 
able to unassisted man, and that therefore God was con- 
sistent with Himself in revealing them ; on the other hand, 
it is alleged that the biographical and historical portions 
of the Book were either known to the writers or were 
within the domain of acquirable information, and as " God 
does not set up His divine torch in human study," nor 
" pour His light in quarters which man's eye and man's 
labor can reach," He is only consistent with Himself in 
withholding inspiration from man in that part of the Bible 
the contents of which he knew or might have known. 

This objection is so well answered by Garbett in " God's 
Word Written," that we quote at length. The effect of 
this allegation 

-"that the Scriptural writers were inspired in delivering 
the great doctrines of revelation relative to the nature of G-od 
and the salvation of man, but were not inspired in regard to 



136 ALLEGED OBJECTIONS TO INSPIRA TION. 

the biographical and historical facts ; that the jewel of divine 
truth, in short, is of God, but that its historical setting is of 
man. But the effect of this theory is to deprive of their heaven- 
given authority those very portions of Scripture which consti- 
tute the evidence for the veracity of the whole, and in which 
alone such evidence could conceivably be afforded. 

* ' That God in giving a revelation should supply at the same 
time some internal means of verifying it, will be admitted to 
be congruous not only with the gracious character of God, but 
with the mode of action He has actually adopted. It would be 
strange if God had provided in miracles and in prophecy an 
attestation to the authority of Scripture, and yet had afforded 
no means of ascertaining its truth. No Christian will doubt 
that the whole fabric of evidence possessed by us to prove the 
Bible to be a revelation from God, has been intelligently pro- 
vided. It has not grown by chance, but has been schemed by 
the mind of God, ordered by His goodness and framed by His 
wisdom. But of this scheme the confirmation of its truth by 
the testimony of secular history and archaeological discovery, 
constitutes an important portion. But this proof lies altogether 
in the historical details of Scripture, not in its doctrines. We 
have no possible means of putting to any practical test its doc- 
trines, such as the Trinity of persons in the Godhead ; the union 
of two natures in Christ ; the justification of the sinner by faith ; 
or the person and operations of the Holy Ghost. We cannot 
climb up into heaven to see the eternal realities to which the 
revealed doctrines correspond. We accept them because we 
find them contained in a revelation we believe to have come 
from God. But we have no possible means of proving them. 
We have means of testing the accuracy of historical facts ; and 
in these facts, therefore, it is natural that God should supply 
the means of verifying His own words. The historical portions 
of the Scripture are inseparably identified with the doctrinal, 
and form component parts of one and the same revelation, in- 
vested with one and the same authority." * 

It is urged that it is beneath the majesty of God to take 
note of details in unimportant and temporal human affairs, 
such as surround the great doctrines evolved from the 

* Pages 286-7. 



ALLEGED OBJECTIONS TO INSPIRATION. 137 

depths of infinite wisdom. To this objection we answer : 
In the natural world God has certainly shown concern for 
what seem to be, and, relatively speaking, are minor affairs, 
but of which a careful examination reveals the fact that 
they are indispensable parts of one stupendous whole. In 
the Holy Spirit's relation to human conduct, individual 
experience testifies that it does not concern itself alone 
with what may be termed the more important affairs of 
life, but with the lesser as well. The wisdom and the good- 
ness of God manifested in this fidelity of His Spirit, is the 
more apparent when we remember that our life-course is 
largely determined by the things of apparent minor im- 
portance. Character is shaped and destiny fixed in large 
part by what seem to be the little things in life; but 
character and destiny, as the resultant of all life, are cer- 
tainly not unimportant. God incarnate would never have 
been the faith of manifold millions who to-day confess 
Him, but for the fidelity of the human Christ to human 
nature in the details of His earthly life ; and, at the same 
time, the manifestation of a perfect consistency between 
the human and the divine nature as revealed in one and 
the same person. 

The teachings of our Lord must, from the very nature 
of their Author, be inspired. He was very God and very 
man. Yet we find Jesus entering into all the minutiae of 
life in setting forth and enforcing the great doctrines 
enunciated by Him. Certainly He did not esteem such a 
course unnecessary nor beneath Him. 

It is alleged that the language is different in different 
portions of the Bible. The Scripture doctrine is, that 
God is immutable ; therefore we should expect that the 
very language of the Bible, if the whole book is inspired 
of God, should be unchanged and unchangeable. We 
answer, that the human element is part and parcel of the 
Scriptures. The Book itself is a mirror of the age, the 



138 ALLEGED OBJECTIONS TO INSPIRATION. 

peoples, and the customs of which it speaks. As a history 
it would not be accurate were it less than this ; as a reve- 
lation it would hardly accomplish the end designed without 
this adaptation. 

It is urged that there is great variation in the different 
accounts of incident or event, or discourse or the setting 
forth of the same doctrine ; whereas, on the theory of a ple- 
nary inspiration, we should expect a uniform presentation. 
This theory, however plausible, is contrary to human usage 
and experience. All know that there is often a marked 
variation in the narrative accounts of the same events by 
the same person. And yet each and all are correct in so 
far as they set forth that which the writer undertakes to 
express. The thought is illustrated in the verbal or struc- 
tural setting of principles or doctrines, in which, though 
there may be differences in the language and forms adopted, 
there is no substantial variation in essence. Familiarity 
with the New Testament makes clear the fact that our 
Saviour's teachings have all the qualities of variation indi- 
cated as characteristic of human teaching. And yet the 
inspiration of Jesus is unquestioned. If Jesus the Son, in 
His divine nature, chose to exercise this latitude, why fix 
the metes and bounds of God the Father in a stereotyped 
form, and then deny His authorship, unless He appears in 
such form as we consider He should ? 

It is alleged, on the part of those who deny plenary in- 
spiration, that God did inspire the matter, but that He left 
to man the important work of setting it in speech. Is it 
not reasonable to suppose that if knowledge of the sub- 
stance was of sufficient importance to be imparted under 
divine inspiration, that it would be so guarded in the 
method of impartation that there might be no serious mis- 
takes \ All understand how the substitution of one word 
for another alters, or may alter, the meaning intended to 
be conveyed. Profound and exhaustive arguments have 



ALLEGED OBJECTIONS TO INSPIRATION. 139 

been founded on single words. Indeed, the distinguishing 
characteristics of the peculiar faith of a sect may depend 
in its root-doctrine on a single phrase, and it might almost 
be said on a single word. The inspired writers in the 
jSTew Testament, as we see time and again, " rest positive 
doctrines and frame elaborate arguments on the authen- 
ticity of single sentences and single words of Old Testa- 
ment Scriptures." 

Many who seem quite willing to concede inspiration to 
the New Testament Scriptures are disposed to deny it to 
very much of the Old. In answer to this, we aver that 
the writers in the Old Testament repeatedly declare that 
they spoke under the Spirit's inspiration, or that they 
voiced that which was given them to speak. David says : 
" The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was 
in my tongue." * Jeremiah asserts : " These are the words 
that the Lord spake." f Isaiah testifies, J moreover, " the 
Lord spake thus to Ahaz, saying." According to Ezekiel, 
" Speak my words unto them." Amos says : " Hear this 
word which the Lord hath spoken against you." [ Indeed, 
as an able writer \ well says : " The direct messages from 
God constitute a very considerable proportion of the whole. 
It includes the latter part of the book of Exodus ; the entire 
book of Leviticus; many chapters in Deuteronomy and 
Numbers ; the greater part of the prophecy of Isaiah ; the 
later chapters, from xli. to Ixiii. expressly, and in form 
bearing this character ; thirty chapters out of the fifty-two 
comprising the prophecy of Jeremiah ; thirty-five out of 
the forty-eight of the prophet Ezekiel, with some slight 
occasional exceptions where the words of the prophet are 
professedly intermingled with the immediate words of 



* 2 Samuel xxiii. 2. t Jeremiah xxx. 4. 

I Isaiah vii. 10. Ezekiel iii. 4. 

U Amos iii. 1 . IT Garbett, ' ' God's Word Written, " p. 291. 



HO ALLEGED OBJECTIONS TO INSPIRATION. 

God ; twelve of the fourteen chapters of Hosea ; almost 
the whole of the prophecy of Joel ; six chapters of Amos 
out of nine; six chapters of Micah; the whole of the 
prophet Zephaniah and of Haggai ; nine chapters of Zech- 
ariah, and the entire book of Habakkuk." These writers, 
as others, introduced Jehovah as the speaker by such words 
as "said," "saying," "thus saith the Lord," and closing 
with " the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." 

Not only is there this internal testimony to the inspira- 
tion of the Old Testament, but we find the New Testa- 
ment writers constantly quoting from the Old Testament 
as the inspired word of God, and weaving into their 
argument for the acceptance of the new, threads drawn 
from the old. When proof was wanted that our Lord 
was the fulfillment of prophecy, we find Matthew say- 
ing : " He came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that 
it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, 
' He shall be called a Nazarene.' " * When Jesus was in 
the struggle with the tempter He declared, to the discom- 
fiture of the adversary, "It is written," followed each 
time by a weapon for the soul's defense in a quotation 
from the Old Testament Scriptures. In the Acts of the 
Apostles we find the great leaders in the founding of the 
Church repeatedly quoting from the Old Testament in the 
argument to establish the truth set forth in the New. 
Peter, in his Pentecostal sermon,f asserts the resurrection 
of our Lord as foretold in Psalm xvi. and Psalm ciii. 
Again, when the fires of persecution were kindling about 
the feet of the disciples, they quote from the Old Testa- 
ment : " Lord, Thou art God, who by the mouth of Thy 
servant David hath said." \ Certainly if language means 
anything, it means in these and many other instances that 
Christ and His Apostles believed that the Old Testament 



* Matt. ii. 23. t Acts ii. 14-29. t Psalm ii. 



ALLEGED OBJECTIONS TO 'INSPIRATION. 141 

Scriptures were of God. The evidence is certainly not 
less convincing as^to the New Testament. In this we find 
Jesus saying to His disciples,* having in view the ordeals 
through which they were to pass : " When they bring you 
unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates and powers, 
take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or 
what ye shall say : for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in 
the same hour what ye ought to say." f " Whatsoever 
shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye : for it is 
not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost." \ We have here 
the direct and positive affirmation that the Holy Spirit 
does speak through men. If in making a personal de 
fense before magistrates and persecutors God sent His 
Spirit to speak through and for them, how much more 
should He voice by the agency used that which was to 
abide through many centuries and instruct and guide un- 
numbered millions of immortal beings in that which is of 
greatest moment to the individual welfare and happiness 
of each and of incalculable good to mankind ? 

Still another objection is that based on the variations of 
readings found in the manuscript copies of the Scriptures. 
The Authorized Version has long been subjected to severe 
criticism by men of acknowledged learning and of unim- 
peached piety and orthodoxy ; not only on the ground of 
imperfect and questioned original texts, but also, from the 
standpoint of modern scholarship, of faulty translation. 
Bishop Marsh, one of the most acute and learned of schol- 
ars in the Church of England, said of the Authorized Ver- 
sion, that it " was made by some of the most distinguished 
scholars in the age of James I. It is probable that our 
Authorized Version is as faithful a representation of the 
original Scriptures as could have been made at that period. 



* Acts iv. 25. f Luke xii. 11, 12. 

\ Mark xi. 13. Lectures, pp. 295-6. 



142 ALLEGED OBJECTIONS TO INSPIRATION. 

But when we consider the immense accession which has 
been since made to our critical and to our philological 
apparatus ; when we consider that the whole mass of lit- 
erature, commencing with the London Polyglot and con- 
tinued to Griesbach's Greek Testament, was collected 
subsequently to that period ; when we consider that the 
most important sources of intelligence for the interpreta- 
tion of the original Scriptures were likewise opened after 
that period, we cannot possibly pretend that our Authorized 
Yersion does not require amendment." 

William Orme, a noted Scotch divine, speaking of the 
common version, says : " It was not made from corrected 
or critical texts of the originals, but from the Masoretic 
Hebrew texts, and from the common printed Greek text 
of the New Testament. Consequently, whatever imper- 
fections belonged to the original at the time, must be ex- 
pected in the version. That it is capable of improvement 
will generally be admitted, and that we are in possession 
of the means by which that improvement could be made, 
is equally unquestionable." * In the same strain do we 
find speaking, the eminent Presbyterian, Dr. John Pye 
Smith, one of the greatest Biblical scholars of his genera- 
tion : " Every Christian who is moderately informed on 
these subjects knows that the early editions of the original 
Scriptures could not possess a text so well ascertained as 
those which the superior means and the diligent industry 
of modern editors have been enabled to attain."f It was 
the opinion of men like these, acknowledged leaders in 
theology, regardless of denominational affiliations, and the 
discovery of additional manuscript copies of the original 
Scriptures, that created among scholars of our generation 
a feeling of dissatisfaction with the Authorized Yersion, 
and an increasing demand for a thorough revision of the 

* "Bibliotheca Biblica," pp. 37-9. 

t " Scripture Testimony to the Messiah," pp. 39 and 41. 



ALLEGED OBJECTIONS TO INSPIRA TION. 143 

entire book, based on the latest and most approved texts. 
The result is the Kevised Version, the product of the 
ripest scholarship of the English-speaking tongue in the 
two hemispheres; having at its command all the addi- 
tional light that two hundred and seventy years of in- 
tensest interest and research have thrown upon it. All 
scholars who have critically examined and compared, con- 
cede the fidelity of the Revised Version to the original 
text ; and yet, what error, fundamental to the Christian 
faith, has been discovered ? What great doctrine accepted 
by the Church universal has it caused to be set aside or 
materially modified ? What part of the foundation of our 
common faith has been shaken ? Is not the Revised Ver- 
sion a valued witness to the great fact that through the 
centuries God has been caring for His message to men, and 
that His truth, like Himself, is " the same yesterday, to- 
day, and forever " ? 

Again, it is alleged that " the fact of inspiration is coa- 
ceded, but the limits of that inspiration are not so clearly 
defined." We answer, that any limitation other than the 
Bible in its entirety, as originally given, is fraught with 
interminable difficulties and embarrassments. On any 
theory other than a whole Bible, what authority is to be 
recognized? Who shah 1 say, this verse, this paragraph, 
this chapter, this book, this Testament is inspired, is of 
God ? Who, with authoritative dictum, shall declare that 
corresponding*portions are uninspired, are of man ? What 
others are partly inspired and partly uninspired ? On this 
theory, no two men will agree as to the inspired and un- 
inspired portions ; for it is purely a matter of personal 
judgment, biased by previous education, inclination, or 
desires. To do this, is to open wide the flood-gates of in- 
difference, doubt, and infidelity, with all their attendant 
moral and spiritual calamities. It is to wreck the faith of 
men in the Word written. It is to remove the pillar of 
cloud by day, and of fire by night, the unerring guides 



144 ALLEGED OBJECTIONS TO INSPIRA TION. 

which humanity's Emancipator has placed before the sons 
of men in their march from the bondage of ignorance and 
sin to the liberty of knowledge and of holiness. 

Belief in the unerring accuracy of the Scriptures, in 
their primal transmission, as of God, both in the expres- 
sion of doctrine and in the record of historic fact, and, for 
the English-speaking world, belief in the Revised Version 
as the essentially accurate reproduction of that primal 
transmission, add immeasurably to their weight of author- 
ity. Sin and infidelity can make little impression on the 
citadel of a soul defended by a full-armed disciple, accept- 
ing and adopting the Bible in its entirety, as the " Thus 
saith the Lord." The minister of the Gospel who preaches 
a whole Bible, does not need to hedge, explain, apologize, 
and so weaken the faith of his hearers in that which he is 
set to defend. The hosts in the church militant, full- 
armed and equipped with the truth of God as revealed in 
the Word, and imbued with the Spirit that accompanied 
its deliverance, under the leadership of Him who is the 
personification of all truth, long after the "poor, feeble, 
stammering tongues " of its assailants " lie silent in the 
grave," will march on to still more glorious triumphs in 
the moral conquest of the world ; until, in God's own full- 
ness of time, in every clime and by every tongue we shall 
hear from the exultant lips of the mighty host of the re- 
deemed : " Lift up your heads, O ye gates ; and be ye 
lifted up, ye everlasting doors ; and the King of Glory 
shall come in. Who is this King of Glory ? The Lord 
strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 

" Lift up your heads, O ye gates ; even lift them up, 
ye everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in. 

" Who is this King of Glory ? The Lord of hosts, He 
is the King of Glory." * 



* Psalm xxiv. 7-10. 



THEOKIES OF INSPIRATION. 

JAMES H. BKOOKES, D.D. 

IT is worthy of notice that the Bible itself says nothing 
whatever of the subject assigned for this hour. No theory 
of inspiration is presented or even suggested from the first 
of Genesis to the last of Revelation, but the Book every- 
where asserts that the words it contains are words which 
God spoke to men, through whom He revealed His will 
and purpose. If we had read the sacred Scriptures alone, 
apart from human opinions, we could never have thought 
of different kinds or degrees of inspiration, but must have 
seen that the writers at least claim for the very language 
of their communications divine origin, divine accuracy, 
and divine authority. There is no attempt to explain how 
they were inspired, but from first to last historians, poets, 
prophets, and apostles come before us with the sublime 
announcement, " Thus saith the Lord." 

So profound was the impression made by this announce- 
ment that the Jews for many centuries accepted without 
hesitation the Old Testament books as coming directly 
from God, and they dared not tamper with a word or let- 
ter of it at the peril of their souls. Josephus says : " Every 
one is not permitted of his own accord to be a writer, nor 
is there any disagreement in what is written, they being 
only prophets that have written the original and earliest 
accounts of things as they learned them of God himself by 

inspiration For so many ages that have already 

passed no one has been so bold as either to add anything 
to them or to make any change in them." Philo, although 
strongly influenced by the philosophy of his times, boldly 

(145 



146 THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 

affirms his faith, and the faith of his countrymen, in the 
fact that God inspired the men who composed the Old 
Testament, and spoke through them as His mouthpiece. 
Esdras, who may be taken as a representative of all the 
Apocryphal writers, tells us : " When the Lord spake unto 
them, they made a sport of His prophets "; " In the first 
year of Cyrus, king of the Persians, that the word of the 
Lord might be accomplished, that He had promised by the 
mouth of Jeremy "; and when he had read the law, " All 
they that were then moved at the word of the Lord God 
of Israel assembled unto me." 

In the early Church also, while it does not appear that 
any theory of inspiration was discussed, there was entire 
unanimity among those who had a right to be called 
Christians, as to inspiration itself, an inspiration that was 
supernatural in its source, unerring in its truthfulness, and 
extending to the very words of Scripture. Thus Clement 
says : " Look into the Holy Scriptures, which are the true 
words of the Holy Ghost "; " Ye know, beloved, ye know 
full well the Holy Scriptures; and have thoroughly 
searched into the oracles of God." Barnabas, in the epis- 
tle ascribed to him, writes : " The Lord hath declared unto 
us by the prophets "; " Thus saith the Lord by the proph- 
ets"; "Moses in the Spirit spake." Irenseus testifies: 
u Well knowing that the Scriptures are perfect, as dictated 
(or spoken) by the word of God and His Spirit." Hip- 
polytus says : " Be assured they did not speak in their own 
strength, nor out of their own minds, what they pro- 
claimed ; but first by the inspiration of the word they 
were imbued with wisdom." Origen declares : " The 
sacred books are not the writings of men, but have been 
written and delivered to us from the inspiration of the 
Holy Spirit by the will of the Father of all things, through 
Jesus Christ. The sacred Scriptures come from the full- 
ness of the Spirit, so that there is nothing in the prophets 



THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. H7 

or the law or the Gospel and the epistles which descends 
not from the Divine Majesty." 

Any amount of similar evidence could be adduced, but 
it is sufficient to say that up to the Reformation, if even 
one voice was raised to advance some theory of inspiration, 
it was too feeble to be heard. The Protestant churches 
which followed the revival that swept over Europe as the 
result of the labors of Luther and others, promulgated no 
new nor unknown doctrine, when they embodied in their, 
Confessions clear and distinct statements of the plenary 
inspiration and supreme authority of the Scriptures. Thus 
the Belgic Confession, A.D. 1561, asserts : " We confess that 
this word of God was not sent nor delivered by the will 
of man, ~but that holy men of God spake as they were 
moved ~by tJie Holy Ghost, as the Apostle Peter saith." 
The Helvetic Confession, A.D. 1566, declares : " We be- 
lieve and confess the canonical Scriptures of the holy 
prophets and apostles of both Testaments to be the true 
Word of God itself, for God himself spoke to the fathers, 
the prophets, and the apostles, and still speaks to us by the 
sacred Scriptures." The Westminster Confession, among 
other like things, affirms : " The Supreme Judge, by which 
all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all 
decrees, councils, opinions of ancient writings, doctrines of 
men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose 
sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy 
Spirit speaking in the Scripture." 

Even the Roman Catholic Council of Trent " receives 
and venerates with an equal affection of piety and rever- 
ence all the books of the Old Testament, seeing one God 
is the author of both ... .as having been dictated, either 
by Christ's own word of mouth, or by the Holy Ghost, and 
preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succes- 
sion." This decision has been recently confirmed by the 
Vatican Council, 1870, which says : " These books of the 



148 THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 

Old and New Testaments are to be received as sacred and 
canonical in their integrity with all their parts, as they are 
enumerated in the decrees of the said Council, and are 
contained in the ancient Latin edition of the Vulgate. 
These the Church holds to be sacred and canonical, not 
because having been carefully composed by mere human 
industry they were afterwards approved by her authority, 
nor merely because they contained revelations with no 
admixture of error, but because having been written by 
the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, they have God for their 
authority, and have been delivered as such to the Church 
herself." 

There was no controversy, therefore, between the Prot- 
estant and Roman Church with regard to thejplpnary in- 
spiration of the Bible. The former justly assailed the lat- 
ter, because she attached equal importance to traditions, 
because she overlaid the word of God with un scriptural 
doctrines and ceremonies, and because she had departed 
from the faith in several essential particulars ; but amid 
all of her errors she has never denied that the Scriptures 
were given directly by the Holy Ghost, f Tn3eed, it was 
largely owing to Luther's influence~and~to his rash treat- 
ment of the epistle of James and the Apocalypse, that lax 
views of inspiration began to prevail ; and the outgrowth 
of these views was the most monstrous heresy. Erasmus 
and Grotius undertook to decide what in Scripture is given 
by the Spirit, and what the writers were sufficient of them- 
selves to discover and record ; and these in turn were fol- 
lowed by Spinoza and Schleiermacher and others, who 
went to a greater length, until rationalism pervaded and 
devastated the German Church. 

When this rationalism invaded England, impiously 
attacking the infallibility of the Bible, and asserting the 
existence of many errors in the sacred pages, those who 
defended it were weak enough to admit the errors, and 



THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 



149 



then claimed that there were different kinds and degrees 
of inspiration, as the inspiration of excitement, the inspira- 
tion of invigoration, the inspiration of superintendence, 
the inspiration of guidance, and the inspiration of direct 
revelation. Thus, after many centuries had passed, dur- 
ing which the people of God in the Jewish and the 
Christian dispensation had accepted the sacred book in 
all its parts, as coming immediately from Him and dictated 
by His Spirit, the first theory of inspiration made its hate- 
ful appearance. Happily it has passed away, and is no 
longer mentioned ; but it must be borne in mind that it 
was invented to account for supposed imperfections and 
errors and mistakes in the sacred Scriptures. 

So it is with all the theories adopted by false teachers 
and their adherents ; and hence such theories are essen- 
tially infidel in their origin, tendencies, and results. Of 
none is this more true than of the popular theory, now 
held by the wiseacres, who "think above that which is 
written," and who tell us that while the thoughts are in- 
spired, the words are uninspired. No one, unless he is 
anxious to believe as much of the Bible as suits him, un- 
less he is willing to set aside those portions of the Bible 
that do not please him, unless he wants to make room 
for any opinion of his own, unless he is ready to abandon 
the whole field to the enemy, could have ever conceived 
an idea so utterly absurd. As Dean Burgon has said: 
" You cannot dissect inspiration into substance and form. 
As for the thoughts being inspired, apart from the words 
which give them expression, you might as well talk of a 
tune without notes, or a sum without figures. No such 
dream can abide the daylight for a moment. No such 
theory of inspiration is even intelligible. It is as illog- 
ical as it is worthless ; and cannot be too sternly put down." 
As Professor Gaussen has said : " This theory of a divine 
revelation, in which you would have the inspiration of the 



150 THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 

thoughts, without the inspiration of the language, is so 
inevitably irrational that it cannot be sincere, and proves 

false even to those who propose it Though the 

words are those of man, say they, the thoughts are those 
of God. And how will they prove this to you? Alas, by 
attributing to this Scripture from God, contradictions, mis- 
takes, proofs of ignorance ! Is it then the words alone 
they attack ? And are not these alleged errors much more 
in the ideas than in the words ? So true it .is that we can- 
not separate the one from the other, and that a revelation 
of God's thoughts ever demands a revelation of God's 
words also." 

It is a marvel that Christians, and especially Christian 
preachers and professors in colleges and theological 
seminaries, can be so easily bamboozled by the devil as to 
accept and propagate a theory, so ridiculous in itself, and 
so easily exposed in its glaring nonsense. The first theory 
of different kinds and degrees of inspiration, now exploded, 
had at least the merit of asserting that a portion of the Bi- 
ble was given by the direct inspiration of God ; but this 
wretched theory of inspired thoughts, and uninspired 
words, leaves no part inspired, throws wide open the door 
to all manner of infidelity, and casts us back for the hope 
of salvation upon a book that may contain nothing more 
than old wives' fables. How can you catch the thought ? 
how can you get at the thought ? what is the thought to 
you, if it is expressed in language subject to all the folly, 
to all the ignorance, to all the mistakes, to all the inherent 
disposition of men to " go astray as soon as they be born, 
speaking lies"? So far as we are concerned, we can 
reach the thoughts only through the words, and if the lat- 
ter have upon them the stamp of human infirmity, the 
former can do us no good, and we might as well throw 
our Bibles into the fire, and ourselves into the gulf of de- 
spair. 



THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 151 

Many who see that no such dream can abide the day- 
light for a moment, that it is not even intelligible, that it 
is as illogical as it is worthless, in their anxiety to avoid 
faith in what God's Word says of itself, have devised a new 
theory of late, which they nail Dynamic Inspiration^ what- 
ever in the name of common sense that means. If they 
are asked for an explanation, they cannot for their lives 
give it, but content themselves with high-sounding phrase- 
ology which seems to them eminently satisfactory. But 
where does the Dynamic lodge ? Is it in the thoughts, or 
in the words, or in both \ Surely every one must see that 
it accounts for nothing, that it signifies nothing, and that 
it is an empty term leaving the subject of inspiration just 
where it was before. It would be vastly better to confess 
our ignorance of the method God took to give us an in- 
spired book, than to hang over the sacred Scriptures a 
meaningless word, and then imagine that we have fath- 
omed the mystery of His infinite wisdom. 

There is another theory, called the mechanical, and even 
the most reverent students of the Bible seem to agree that 
this cannot be true. But precisely the same objection lies 
against the great mass who reject it, and perhaps the few 
who accept it, that can be urged against all other theories. 
That is to say, it is a theory, and for this very reason it is 
worthless. No man has a right to affirm that God used 
the men through whom He communicated His revelations, 
just as we use a printing-press, or type-writer, or other me- 
chanical contrivance to express our thoughts, and no man 
has a right to affirm that He did not so use them, because 
the Scriptures do not inform us how they were inspired. 
If it had been written that the prophets and apostles were 
mere machines, employed for the transmission of God's 
thoughts and words, we would be bound to believe it; 
and had it been written that they were not machines, we 
would be bound to believe that also. But inasmuch as it 



152 THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 

is plainly and repeatedly declared that their writings are 
inspired, without a single statement ot the manner of their 
inspiration, we are bound to believe that they are inspired, 
without believing at all, in one way or another, in what 
manner they are inspired. 

It is a real relief to get away from man's fruitless specu- 
lations, and vain guesses, and laborious gropings in the 
dark, and philosophical disquisitions, to the calm, clear, 
and straightforward statements of the Bible itself. We 
turn to the first man God commissioned to make known 
His will, and we find him saying, " O my Lord, I am not 
eloquent, neither heretofore nor since Thou hast spoken 
unto Thy servant, but I am slow of speech and of a slow 
tongue. And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made 
man's mouth? .... Now, therefore, go and I will be 
with thy month, and teach thee what thou shalt say " (Ex. 
iv. 10-12). It will be observed that Jehovah does not 
promise to be with his mind, and teach him what to think, 
but to be with his mouth, and teach him what to say. So 
far as the record testifies, the thoughts of Moses were not 
inspired in any degree, but his words were inspired, and it 
is with these we have to do. Certain learned gentlemen 
claim to have discovered internal and linguistic evidence 
that Moses did not write the Pentateuch, and then with 
the strangest inconsistency insist that it is part of the 
inspired Scriptures. It is said that when Kuenen heard 
of this absurd position taken by his English and American 
admirers and followers, he exclaimed, "I have exposed the 
forgery of the books, but I certainly never thought of as- 
sociating God Almighty with the fraud." 

Those, however, who do not believe that the Pentateuch 
is a shameless forgery, are compelled to believe, unless they 
are as inconsistent as the higher critics, that its language was 
given by inspiration of God. " The Lord said unto Moses "; 
u The Lord spake unto Moses, saying "; u God spake all these 



THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 153 

words, saying "; " The Lord called unto Moses, and spake 
unto him out of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, 
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them," 
are phrases of constant occurrence all through the Penta- 
teuch. It is plainly stated that the tables Moses received 
on the mount "were the work of God, and the writing 
was the writing of God, graven upon the tables'"; "and 
the Lord spake unto Moses, face to face, as a man speaketh 
unto his friend." Now, what are those who hold theories 
of inspiration, going to do with evidence like this, that 
might be multiplied indefinitely ? The words just quoted 
are found more than five hundred times in the five books ; 
and if Moses did not tell the truth, or if he yielded to a 
weak imagination, when he so often and so solemnly de- 
clares that the language he wrote and uttered was put into 
his mouth by the Lord, then his testimony is not worth a 
straw upon any subject whatever. 

If the words were not inspired, why did he say, when 
the Israelites were nearing the end of their long Journey 
in the wilderness, " Ye shall not add to the word which I 
command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it " ? 
(Deut. iv. 2). Surely the meekest man on the earth could 
not have attached such transcendent importance to his 
own word, nor could he have said, unless lie knew they 
were inspired, " These words which I command thee this 
day shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them 
diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when 
thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the 
way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and 
they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou 
shalt write them upon the posts of thy house and on thy 
gates" (Deut. vi. 6-9). He everywhere asserts that the 
words he communicated to the people we;e the words 
God told him to. deliver; he nowhere intimates that any 



154 THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 

message he uttered was his own in thought or language ; 
and we are fairly compelled to accept his testimony upon 
this point, or to abandon all confidence in him as a trust- 
worthy witness in any particular. When the higher critics 
tell us that he did not write the Pentateuch, they might as 
well tell us that our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles, 
who over and over say he did wate it, were ignorant of 
what modern scholarship has discovered, or that they lent 
the sanction of their names to a gross fraud ; and in either 
event they must be dismissed from the mind as not en- 
titled to the least respect. 

Turning to the second division of the Old Testament, 
which our Saviour recognized and adopted, we find David 
to be the principal actor and agent, through whom God 
made known His will ; and we bring all the theories of in- 
spiration side by side with his dying testimony. " Now 
these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse 
said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed 
of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, 
said, The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word 
was in my tongue " (2 Sam. xxiii. 1, 2). He does not say, 
" The Spirit of the Lord thought by me," but " spake by 
me "; nor does he say, " His ideas were in my mind," but 
" His word was in my tongue." So far as we can gather 
from the record, his thoughts were not inspired at all ; 
and it is probable from the use made of his Psalms in the 
New Testament that his language often bore a meaning 
far beyond his conception of its import ; but it is certain 
that his words were given by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 

Hence the value of the written word as it is set forth 
.in all of his Psalms. "The words of the Lord are pure 
words, as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven 
times "; u The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the 
soul ; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the 
simple ; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the. 



THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 155 

heart ; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlighten- 
ing the eyes." " Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in 
heaven." " Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light 
unto my path." " The entrance of Thy words giveth 
light." " Thy word is true from the beginning." " Thou 
hast magnified Thy word above all Thy name, y or above 
every other manifestation of Himself, in nature, or in sci- 
ence, or in human reason. In the historical books and in 
the Psalms, including the other poetical books, "The 
Lord said," " The Lord spake, saying," " Thus saith the 
Lord," " The word of the Lord came," occur about three 
hundred times ; and are we to dismiss such testimony at 
the bidding of man's idle theories of inspiration \ That 
word can do for us more than any earthly parent or 
power ; for " when thou goest, it shall lead thee ; when 
thou sleepest, it shall keep thee ; when thou awakest, it 
shall talk with thee." ~No wonder it is said at the close 
of this second part of the Scriptures, "Every word of 
God is pure; .... add thou not unto His words, lest 
He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." 

Glancing for a moment at the third division of the Old 
Testament, known as the Prophets, let us compare human 
theories with divine testimony. We learn that Jeremiah 
recoiled, as Moses did, from the disagreeable mission upon 
which he was sent, saying : " Ah ! Lord God ! behold, I 
cannot speak ; for I am a child. But the Lord said 
unto me, Say not, I am a child, for thou shalt go to all 
that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee 

thou shalt speak Then the Lord put forth His 

hand and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto 
me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth." He 
did not say, observe, "I have put my thoughts in thy 
mind and left thee to selection of any language that oc- 
curs to thee as suitable,'' but " I have put my words in 
thy mouth." Hence, all through his prophecy, " Thus 



156 THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 

saith the Lord," " The Lord said unto me," are found at 
brief intervals, frequently sounding out again and again 
in the same chapter. But precisely the same thing is true 
of all the other prophets, without a single exception. 
Every one of them claims that he was delivering the 
very message God told him to deliver, and in the words 

/ 

of God. No man can dispute this statement, and there is 
not a hint in any part of the prophecies that in the least 
passage the writers were cast back upon their own 
thoughts or their own words. " Hear the word of the 
Lord," " The word of the Lord came," " Thus saith the 
Lord God," and similar declarations, are found about 
twelve hundred times in the prophecies; "saith the 
Lord" being repeated twenty-four times in the four 
short chapters of Malachi. 

Are we to make nothing of all this ? Is it to be set 
aside at the bidding of man's wholly uncalled-for theories 
of inspiration? Because he chooses to fancy that there 
are different kinds and degrees of inspiration, because he 
prefers to believe in inspired thoughts and uninspired 
words, because he tries to comfort himself with dynamic 
inspiration, because he is opposed to mechanical inspira- 
tion, are we to treat the explicit testimony of the word 
itself, given in more than two thousand places, as of no 
value ? Out with all of these foolish theories, that are not 
worth the paper on which they are written ! Men have 
no right to their opinions, when God has most explicitly 
and fully revealed His truth, as He has done upon this 
subject. "To the law and to the testimony: if they 
speak not according to this word, it is because there is no 
light in them "; and it is certain that the theories of in- 
spiration have only darkened His counsel. He does not 
set before us the foolish task of trying to explain how 
His book is inspired, but to believe, because He says it, 
that it is inspired and verbally inspired. 



THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 157 

About this there can be no doubt whatever, when we 
come to see the extent of the inspiration our Lord Jesus 
Christ promised to His apostles. "When they deliver 
you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak ; for 
it shall be given you in that hour what ye shall speak ; for 
it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father 
which speaketh in you." At another time, He said, 
u When they bring you unto synagogues, and unto mag- 
istrates and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing 
ye shall answer, or what ye shall say : for the Holy Ghost 
shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say." 
At another time, still later, He said : " When they shall 
lead you and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand 
what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate ; but what- 
soever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye, for 
it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost." 

It is impossible to imagine any stronger proof of verbal 
inspiration than is found in these passages. The apostles 
were actually forbidden to think, to premeditate, to pre- 
pare their defense, to give themselves the slightest concern ; 
and this upon the ground that they were not to speak, but 
the Spirit of God would speak through them, that the 
words they ought to utter should be given them the same 
hour they were needed. If it be urged by those who hold 
theories of inspiration that this was a special promise for 
a special occasion, still the main point is conceded ; for it 
is admitted that God did sometimes at least communicate 
His own words, without interfering with the mental idio- 
syncrasy and peculiar style of each of His servants. What 
He does at one time, He can do at another ; and what 
He did for the apostles when they were called to defend 
themselves, He did when they were called to preach His 
Gospel and to write epistles. 

Hence, on the day of Pentecost, " they were all filled with 
the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, 



158 THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 

as the Spirit gave them utterance." It was not as the Spirit 
gave them thoughts, but as the Spirit gave them utterance ; 
and it is certain that their words were inspired, because 
they immediately spoke in more than a dozen different 
languages and dialects, with not one of which had they 
the slightest previous acquaintance. All human theories 
of inspiration vanish before the fact that a number of un- 
lettered fishermen in a moment proclaimed, in tongues 
utterly unknown before that hour, the Gospel of the grace 
of God, showing conclusively that the very words were 
instantaneously communicated to them, and through them 
to others. So, then, the apostles of our Lord were endowed 
and qualified for their work as His messengers, in pre- 
cisely the same way that distinguished the messengers of 
Jehovah in the Old Testament times, from Moses to Mal- 
achi. Thus the harmony of the two dispensations is won- 
derfully preserved for what was spoken, what was writ- 
ten, by men chosen to be ambassadors and witnesses for 
the truth, was directly from God himself. 

But was the inspiration of the apostles, so distinctly 
promised, and so signally proved, subsequently withdrawn, 
leaving them to inspired thoughts, but uninspired words ? 
On the other hand, Paul boldly affirms : " Now, we have 
received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which 
is of God ; that we might know the things that are freely 
given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in 
the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the 
Holy Ghost teacheth." Dr. Charles Hodge well remarks : 

" This is verbal inspiration, or the doctrine that the writers 
of the Scriptures were controlled by the Spirit of God in the 
choice of the words which they employed in communicating 
divine truth. This has been stigmatized as the mechanical the- 
ory of inspiration, degrading the sacred penmen into mere ma- 
chines. It is objected to this doctrine that it leaves the diver- 
sity of style which marks the different portions of the Bible,, 



THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 159 

unaccounted for. But, if God can control the thoughts of a 
man without making him a machine, why cannot He control 
his language ? And why may He not render each writer, 
whether poetical or prosaic, whether polished or rude, whether 
aphoristic or logical, infallible in the use of his characteristic 
style ? If the language of the Bible be not inspired, then we 
have the truth communicated through the discoloring and dis- 
torting medium of human imperfection. Paul's direct asser- 
tion is that the words which he used were taught by the Holy 
Ghost." 

Elsewhere the same apostle says : " If any man think 
himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge 
that the things that I write unto you are the command- 
ments of the Lord." Again he says : " He therefore that 
despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given 
unto us His Holy Spirit." It is impossible, then, that he 
could be in doubt of the inspiration of his epistles, or con- 
fess that he was not always and equally inspired in writ- 
ing, as some strangely insist he admits, when he says to 
the Corinthians, " I think, also, that I have the Spirit of 
God." It is, in fact, the strongest assertion of his inspi- 
ration, when read in the light of the "Revised Version. 
His enemies, who denied his apostleship, claimed that they 
were taught by the Holy Ghost, and he exclaims in cut- 
ting sarcasm, " I think that I also have the Spirit of God." * 
If you false teachers claim to be inspired, how much more 
can I make the claim, to whom the Holy Spirit imparts 
the very words communicated to the church ! This is the 
apostle who is led by the Holy Ghost to announce that 
" all Scripture is given by inspiration of God." That is, 
the writings contained in God's book, and the writings 
being made up o*f words, it is certain that all the words, 
as originally spoken or written by the men chosen for this 
purpose, were given by inspiration of God. 



* See remark by Editor, page 183. 



160 THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 

Then follows Peter, urging the brethren to u be mind- 
ful of the words which were spoken before by the holy 
prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of 
the Lord and Saviour"; putting the commandment of the 
apostles on the same high plane of divine authority with 
the words of the holy prophets, of whom he writes : " The 
prophecy came not in old time by the will of man : but 
holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy 
Ghost." If this testimony is true, then man's will had 
nothing to do, not even in the selection of the language, 
with the prophecy; but holy men of God spake, not 
thought, but spake, being borne along by the Holy Ghost. 
But Peter exalts the epistles, and all the epistles, of his 
brother Paul to the level of the other Scriptures which he 
says are inspired, without the will of man having any part 
in it whatever ; and thus, the inspiration of both the Old 
and the JSTew Testaments rests upon immovable grounds. 
It would be better not to believe in inspiration at all, than 
to believe any theory that excludes the supernatural con- 
trol and unerring accuracy of every word of the original 
Scriptures. Between such a theory and infidelity there is 
only the lightest shadow. 

The test of knowing God is precisely the same that it was 
in the days of the beloved John, who, speaking for himself, 
and in behalf of his brother apostles, says : " We are of 
God : he that knoweth God, heareth us ; he that is not of 
God, heareth not us. Hereby know we the Spirit of 
truth, and the spirit of error." Diligent and prayerful 
study of the words of the Bible, comparing Scripture with 
Scripture to ascertain its full teaching, prompt accept- 
ance of its testimony in its plain and obvious meaning, 
and unquestioning submission to its decision as of divine 
authority, furnish the only safeguard of the soul in these 
last and perilous days. The Holy Ghost, as if foreseeing 
the profane tampering and trifling with the word of God, so 



THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 161 

common now, alas ! with men professing to be Christians, 
closes the Canon of Scripture with the startling admoni- 
tion : " I testify unto every man that heareth the words 
of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto 
these things, God shaJl add unto him the plagues that are 
written in this book : and if any man shall take away from 
the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take 
away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy 
city, and from the things which are written in this book." 
Thus there is the most perfect unanimity among all the 
witnesses whom God commissioned, concerning the inspi- 
ration of their messages and writings. It is a unanimity 
so striking, Robert Haldane truly said : 

"Nothing can be more clearly, more expressly, or more pre- 
cisely taught in the word of God. And while other important 
doctrines may be met with passages of seeming opposition, 
there is not in the language of the Scriptures one expression 
that even appears to contradict their plenary and verbal inspi- 
ration." 

But, apart from the distinct and abundant teaching of 
the Bible upon this subject, which ought to settle the 
question forever with the Christian, reason demands an 
inspiration higher than the position recognized by any 
popular theory. In the language of Dr. Charles Hodge : 

1 ' The inspiration of the Scriptures extends to the words. A 
mere human report or record of a divine revelation must, of 
necessity, be not only fallible, but more or less erroneous. The 
thoughts are in the words. The two are inseparable. If the 
words, priest, sacrifice, ransom, expiation, propitiation, purifi- 
cation by blood, and the like, have no divine authority, then 
the doctrine which they embody has no authority." 

With this all humble and earnest students of the Bible 
will agree, for they see daily accumulating evidence of 
superhuman wisdom and skill in the selection of its words, 



162 THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 

even to the minutest particle ; and never have they dis- 
covered a single mistake, nor a verse which they are vain 
enough to imagine they could improve after the most 
careful thought and the most laborious effort. The more 
they read the book, the more are they convinced that man 
could as easily have made the world as he could have pro- 
duced such a work as this. Hence, they are not surprised 
to learn that those who were employed to write the book 
are represented as examining eagerly into the meaning of 
the words they had received from God. " Of which sal- 
vation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, 
who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you : 
searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of 
Christ which was in them did signify, when He testified 
beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that 
should follow" (1 Pet. i. 11, 12). They were like aman- 
uenses sitting down, after the Master had withdrawn, and 
seeking to make out, if possible, the significance of His 
wonderful communications. The more attentively and 
the longer a believer reads the book, the more clearly will 
he perceive that, like the love of Christ, it possesses a 
breadth, and length, and depth, and height, which he 
could never compass, if he should do nothing but study it 
for a thousand years. 

He is impatient, therefore, of all theories, and flings 
them to the winds, that he may take the Bible at just what 
it says. Canon Farrar has summed up these various 
theories, calling the first 

"the organic, mechanical, or dictation theory. It held 
that every sentence, every word, nay, even every syllable, 
letter, and vowel-point of Scripture had been divinely and 

supernaturally imparted According to those who held, 

or possibly even hold, this theory [thank God, there are some 
who hold it, not as a theory, but as a fact] the Bible not only 
records but is a revelation, not only reveals but is a religion, 



THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 163 

not only contains but is the word of God The second 

theory has been called the dynamic. It holds that the Holy 
Scripture was not 'dictated, by,' but 'committed to writing 

under the guidance of ' the Holy Spirit The truths are 

inspired by the Holy Spirit, the words and phrases are the re- 
sult of the writer's own individuality ; the material is of God, 
the form is of man There may be weaknesses and im- 
perfections in the mode of expression ; there can be none in 

the truth revealed The next theory may be called the 

theory of illumination Some have distinguished be- 
tween the grace of superintendence/, which merely saved from 
positive error; the grace of elevation, which uplifted the 
thoughts and words to a lofty standard ; the grace of direction, 
which guided them alike in what they omitted as in what they 
expressed ; and the grace of suggestion, which vouchsafed to 

supply both words and thoughts The next theory, 

which has been widely embraced, may be called the theoiy of 
essential as distinguished from plenary inspiration. Its favor- 
ite formula is, that the Bible contains the word of God, while 
it rejects, as inaccurate, the expression that the Bible is the 

word of God The fifth theory may be called that 

of ordinary inspiration The holders of this theory 

believe that the action of the Holy Spirit, as exercised in 
the inspiration of Scripture, is not generically distinct from 
the ordinary influence of that Holy Spirit upon the heart and 
intellect of Christian men, which all admit to be analogous to 
it. They believe that the Bible animates and awakens the re- 
ligious consciousness of man, but they attach no infallible 
truthfulness to all its utterances, nor any divine sanctity to its 
incidental and non-religious teachings." 



But even Canon Farrar, utterly unsound as he is upon 
this vital point, and therefore unsound in many of his doc- 
trines, is forced to make the following remarkable admis- 
sions : " Undoubtedly there is a vast multitude of passages 
in which the inspired writers claim to be delivering the di- 
rect messages of God." If they make this claim in a vast 
multitude of passages, and in not a single passage abandon 
the claim, by what right does any man set aside their an- 



164: THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 

thority, and substitute for their testimony his own 
wretched theory \ Again, the popular preacher and 
author says, in meeting the charge that the sacred writers 
sometimes erred, " that they did so err I am not so irrev- 
erent as to assert, nor has the widest learning and acutest 
ingenuity of scepticism ever pointed to one complete and 
demonstrable error of fact or doctrine in the Old or the 
New Testament" The italics are his own, and in the face 
of sucli an admission, how is it possible to avoid the con- 
clusion that God gave the very words of Scripture ? 

Men may say that there was no need of inspiration in 
the historical books of the Bible, forgetting that it is an 
exceedingly difficult and rare thing to write history truth- 
fully, or even the most common occurrences, as illustrated 
daily in the newspapers, although the reporters may have 
no temptation to lie. They may say that they cannot un- 
derstand how God inspired the words, forgetting that they 
cannot understand any better how He inspired the 
thoughts. They may say that differences of style disprove 
verbal inspiration, forgetting that the very same mind has 
often used a different style in the composition of legal 
documents, fiction, poetry, and philosophical dissertations ; 
forgetting that the very same mind uses one style in send- 
ing a message through an illiterate boy to laborers on his 
farm, and another style in transmitting his views to a 
political convention assembled in his interests, and another 
style in communicating the results of his investigations to 
a scientific association, and another style in expressing his 
good wishes for the success of a benevolent organization ; 
forgetting that the Holy Spirit dwells in the believer, 
controlling his speech and actions without reducing him 
to the helpless condition of an unthinking machine, and 
without changing his style or natural gifts and tendencies. 
They may say that if verbal inspiration is true, the four 

j accounts of the inscription on the cross of our Lord 

- f 



THEORIES OF INSPIRATION. 165 

would have been precisely alike, forgetting that they 
would have been precisely alike but for verbal inspira- 
tion, the Holy Ghost requiring the writers to arrange the 
words according to His special design in the preparation 
of each of the gospels, and that all taken together form 
the complete inscription. They may say that it was un- 
worthy of the Spirit of God to concern Himself about an 
old cloke and the parchments, which Paul left at Troas, 
forgetting that it was altogether worthy of Him to con- 
sult the comfort of His faithful servant, sending for the 
things that are the symbols of service and study, if the 
critics had eyes to see, and reminding them, if they had 
ears to hear, that He will not forget the lonely prisoner 
suffering for His truth. 

But amid all the cavils and objections of foolish and 
ignorant men the voice of God sounds out high and clear 
in more than two thousand places from Genesis to Reve- 
lation, affirming the inspiration of the very words of the 
sacred Scripture. Sinful creatures, that dwell in houses 
of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed 
before the moth, whose days are as an handbreadth, may 
construct their little theories of inspiration, but above 
them all, and outlasting all, is " the word of God, which 
liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and 
all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass 
withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away : but the 
word of the Lord endureth forever." " Forever, O Lord, 
Thy word is settled in heaven": " All Scripture is given 
by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for 
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness ; 
that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished 
unto all good works." 



DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE AS TESTED BY 
THE LAWS OF EVIDENCE. 

T. 8. CHILDS, D.D. 

UNDOUBTEDLY there are difficulties in the Bible. The 
question is whether these prove that it is not the plenarily 
inspired Word of God. On the other hand, it may be 
suggested whether they do not confirm it as the work of 
God, for they at once put it in harmony with all His other 
works. If the Bible were without difficulties, it would, 
for us, be out of the line with everything else that God 
has made or done. Nature and Providence are full of 
difficulties. There is nothing in the Bible harder of ex- 
planation and reconciliation than are the facts that meet 
us everywhere in God's creative and providential realms. 
If these difficulties do not prove that Nature and Provi- 
dence are not, from beginning to end, the works of God, 
they do not on the face of them prove that the Bible is 
not such. Let us not be misunderstood. We are not 
identifying the domains of nature and of grace. There 
has arisen a mode of meeting the objections to the Bible 
that, it seems to us, must logically destroy the Bible as a 
supernatural revelation. " The Christian Church," it has 
been said, " rests upon an empty grave." We accept the 
statement. But the decisive question is, whether that grave 
was emptied by natural law or by the immediate power 
of God. On that question hangs the other, whether Chris- 
tianity is a religion or the religion. Christianity is a su- 
pernatural religion or it is nothing. Between it and all 
other religions a gulf is fixed which they who would pass 
cannot. Its kingdom is not of this world. Its concep- 
(166) 



DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE. 167 

tion is supernatural. Its life is supernatural. Its charter 
is a supernatural book. Its force and motives come from 
beyond the skies. Its issues are greater than nature brings. 
In the recognition which we gladly give of the beauties 
of analogy between the natural and the spiritual worlds, 
we must guard the limits of the two. They are not the 
same. That kingdom of heaven which He who 9vercame 
the sharpness of death has opened to all believers, is not a 
kingdom whose mighty and eternal sweep can be forced 
into the framework of natural law. The incarnation of 
Bethlehem, the rifled grave of Joseph of Arimathea, the 
ascension from Bethany to the throne of God, were not 
by " natural law in the spiritual world " ! The difficulties 
of the Bible confirm it as a Divine work ; not by identity, 
but by analogy. 

Another remark to be made in regard to these difficul- 
ties is this : they sift the Church, and they test the faith 
of men. When the Master was followed by a great mul- 
titude that would take Him by force to make Him a king, 
and fleeing from them was followed yet again, it was 
time to prove them, and in utterances of profoundest 
truth He piled difficulty upon difficulty with increasing 
intensity to the end. " I am the bread that came down 
from heaven." 

" How is it that He saith : I came down from heaven ? " 
" I am the living bread which came down from heaven. . . 
The bread that I will give is my flesh." 

" How can this man give us His flesh to eat ? " 
" Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink 
His blood, ye have no life in you." 

" This is a hard saying, who can hear it ? " 
" No man can come unto me, except it were given unto 
him of my Father." And from that time many of His 
disciples went back and walked no more with Him (John 



168 DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE. 

Often in the history of the Church there come these 
hours of Capernaum when the crucial word must be 
spoken ; when that difficulty must be thrown out which 
shall test the crowds who follow the Lord either to make 
Him a king after their own thought, or to share the loaves 
and the fishes ; when it shall be seen who of His disciples 
will go back and walk no more with Him in the unworld- 
liness of His reign, in the purity of His truth, in the 
mystery of His leadings ; and who, clinging to His hand 
through all mystery, all darkness, all difficulty, will meet 
His question of infinite pathos, " Will ye also go away ? " 
with the answer of absolute trust, " Lord, to whom shall 
we go ? Thou hast the words of eternal life." 

In dealing with the difficulties of the Scriptures, there- 
fore, we have not the least idea that they will all be re- 
moved. Difficulties will remain. They are put there to 
remain. The Lord of hosts Himself is a stone of stum- 
bling and a rock of offence upon which many stumble 
and fall and are broken. If a man is determined to com- 
mit suicide he can do it by the very means that God has 
created to preserve life by fire or by water. Spiritual 
self-destruction is quite possible through the Word of Life 
itself. At the same time no man has a right to put need- 
less difficulties in the Bible, or to make difficulties where 
none exist. More than this, every man is bound to deal 
as fairly at least with the Bible as he deals with his fellow- 
men in the ordinary relations of life. That which would 
give him no trouble as a judge upon the bench, or a juror 
in the box, he has no right to urge as a serious objection 
to the Scriptures. And a principle that any court of 
law would accept as removing a difficulty, where there is 
no reason to assume falsehood or mistake, may reasonably 
be applied, and must in all fairness be accepted, if it re- 
lieves any alleged difficulty of the Divine Word. 

In testing at this time some of the difficulties of the 



DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE. 169 

Scriptures by the accepted rules of evidence, hardly more 
can be done than to present a few of these rules as appli- 
cable to these difficulties. But the rules are of the widest 
application. The solution of one difficulty by them is the 
solution of a hundred. 

Looking upon the Bible as a whole, let us refer first to 
the familiar precept that every man is to be presumed 
innocent until he is proved guilty. This is emphatically 
true of a man of good general reputation. Now the Bible 
is not a new book. It has been before the world for ages. 
It has a character. That it is on the whole a good book, 
the bitterest opposers of its plenary inspiration not only 
admit but assert. It is conceded that it is entitled to its 
name the Bi~ble, the Book. 

Paine, indeed, thought, or rather said, that any man 
who could read and write could make a Bible equal to 
this. Mr. Ingersoll seems to believe that he himself is 
the man who can read and write. These are the only two, 
as far as our memory just now goes, who have felt com- 
petent to write the 90th Psalm and the ten command- 
ments ; the Sermon on the Mount and the 14th chapter 
of John; the 15th chapter of 1st Corinthians, and the 
21st and 22d chapters of the Revelation. Leaving these 
exceptional judges out of the account, most readers of the 
Bible have considered it as something more than an ordi- 
nary book. Its character has generally been regarded as 
justifying its title. 

It claims to be a truthful book. By every fair principle 
this claim must be allowed until it is shown to be false. 
Bancroft's " History of the United States " claims to be a 
reliable work. The claim is generally admitted. If a man 
now comes forward and asserts that it is false in whole 
or in details, by universal judgment he must prove his 
assertion. And obviously his proofs must be stronger 
than the evidences of the truth of the history. If this is 



170 DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE. 

so in reference to a book that has not stood the test of 
half a century, emphatically is it true of a book whose 
character has been established through the searching scru- 
tiny of friends and foes for fifteen centuries aye, for 
twice fifteen centuries. If a man now affirms the Bible 
to be false, wholly or in part, it rests upon him in all fair- 
ness to prove his position. And his evidence must be 
stronger than that which supports the book. For three 
thousand years a growing mass of testimony to the truth 
of the Bible has been rolling up in the face of every objec- 
tion that ingenuity, learning, and the bitterest hostility 
could present. Account for it as we may, that is the fact. 
There is therefore a reasonable presumption in its favor, 
and in favor of any specific statement that it makes. If 
then we find in it a positive statement, for example, as to 
the origin of man, and that statement is now confronted 
by another and contradictory one, the two do not stand 
on the same level. The new claimant must prove his po- 
sition, and to prove it he must disprove the truth of the 
Scripture record. It is not enough to show that his prop- 
osition might be true, if we had no other information on 
the subject. He must show that the Scripture, with its 
mass of supporting and cumulative evidence, is false. 
And he must support his new proposition by a body of 
evidence stronger than this manifold evidence of ages by 
which the Scriptures are sustained. A mere conceivable 
hypothesis of how man might have originated, even though 
that hypothesis may have the support of certain analogies, 
so long as it is destitute of proof as to how man did orig- 
inate, cannot stand against the positive statement of the 
Word of God that he originated in another way. And 
we cannot understand the eagerness with which men pro- 
fessing faith in the Bible, seem ready to yield its clear 
declaration for an hypothesis that admittedly has not a 
solitary positive proof to sustain it; an hypothesis that 



DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE. 171 

logically must make the incarnation of the Son of God 
if the term is retained an outworking of natural law, 
which outworking ought long ago to have been surpassed 
by one born greater than Jesus of Nazareth. 

The character of the Bible may justly claim to sustain 
its record till it is proved false. Deal with it as fairly as 
you deal with the red-handed anarchist. Let the Book be 
innocent till proved guilty. And if innocent, like the 
Incarnate Word, the written Word stands a true witness 
in all things forever. Condemned, crucified, buried, it 
will always rise again. It is a perilous thing to condemn 
the guiltless. 

Another rule of law is this : " The testimony of a single 
witness, where there is no ground for suspecting either 
his ability or integrity, is a sufficient legal ground for be- 
lief." (Starkie on Ev., i., 550.) The mere silence of one 
witness, or of many witnesses, cannot set aside the clear, 
positive testimony of a single trustworthy witness. That Jo- 
sephus does not mention events which Moses records, does 
not affect the truth of the Mosaic record. And his silence 
as to the Bethlehem massacre even if no reason could be 
suggested for it, as there can be cannot, under this rule 
of law, affect the positive testimony of Matthew that there 
was such a massacre. 

The courts go farther than this. They say: "If a 
witness swear positively that he saw or heard a fact, and 
another who was present that he did not see or hear it, 
and the witnesses are equally faithworthy, the affirmative 
witness is to be believed." (Decisions of the Supreme 
Court of Errors of the State of Connecticut, vol. 6, p. 188.) 

In the case referred to in that decision, the court set 
aside a verdict that had been rendered by the lower court 
on the negative testimony of eleven witnesses against the 
positive testimony of three. The principle established by 
that decision, and which is universally accepted as law, is 



172 DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE. 

that the negative testimony of witnesses present at any 
given transaction, cannot set aside the positive testimony 
of a far less number of witnesses, or even of a single re- 
liable witness. 

The silence of any of the Evangelists in reference to an 
incident or event at which they may have been present, 
but which possibly they may not have noticed, or which 
they do not record, does not contradict in the least the 
testimony of one who says such an incident occurred. The 
fact of the marriage in Cana is not at all disturbed because 
John is the only witness who testifies to it. The rule ap- 
plies to that extraordinary doubt of modern criticism : 
whether the Israelites were ever in Egypt, because, as 
affirmed, the monuments do not record their presence, nor 
their flight, nor the destruction of the Egyptian host at 
the Red Sea. Now leaving out of the argument the 
strong probability that the monuments do refer to their 
presence in Egypt, and the further probability that the 
Egyptians would not be likely to preserve on their monu- 
ments the record of their own ignominy and over- 
throw, the objection could not stand for a moment in any 
court of justice in the presence of the positive testimony 
of the record to the history in Egypt. All the more, as 
this testimony is sustained by an extraordinary weight of 
incidental corroborative evidence, and is involved in the 
whole subsequent history of the nation. 

Grant, if you will, that there are improbabilities in parts 
of the history ; still the courts rule that " Mere improba- 
bility can rarely supply a sufficient ground for disbelieving 
direct and unexceptionable witnesses of the fact where there 
was no room for mistake." (Starkie, i., 558. See also 
Greenleaf on Ev., i., 1, 14, 15.) 

That canon, fairly applied, sweeps away no inconsider- 
able portion of the objections to the Scripture histories. 
Take the great decisive fact of the resurrection of Christ, 



DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE. 173 

a fact that carries with it the whole Christian system, and 
the verity of the whole Christian revelation. It is a fact 
of testimony ; of the testimony of many witnesses, under 
a great variety of circumstances, at many times and places, 
and extending through so long a period as to preclude all 
reasonable or admissible supposition of "mistake." No 
fact of ancient history can be proved by testimony if the 
resurrection of Christ cannot be. The proof stands by 
itself, positive, direct, unexceptionable as to the character 
and capacity of the witnesses. It is proof that the law of 
the land declares cannot be set aside by " mere improba- 
bility." And if this fact is established, everything essen- 
tial to Christianity is established. The seal of the risen 
Christ is on the Old Testament : His blood is on the New 
Testament. It is throughout the living Book of the slain 
and living Lord. 

Another very important rule of law is this : " In cases of 
conflicting evidence, the first step in the process of inquiry 
must naturally and obviously be, to ascertain whether the 
apparent inconsistencies and incongruities which it pre- 
sents may not without violence be reconciled." (Starkie, 
i., 5Y8.) " Where there is an apparent inconsistency or 
contradiction in the testimony of witnesses, such construc- 
tion shall be put upon it as to make it agree if possible, 
for perjury is not to be presumed." (Decision Sup. Ct. of 
Errors of Conn., vol. 6, p. 189.) Nothing is more remark- 
able than the constant violation of this rule by many of 
the critics of the Bible. Their effort is to see, not if 
the testimony can be made to agree, but if, by any possi- 
bility, it can be forced to appear contradictory. 

The courts take even stronger ground on the obligation 
of harmonizing apparently conflicting evidence. If the 
elements of reconciliation are not found in ,the evidence 
itself, they insist on the admission of any reasonable sup- 
position that will explain the difficulty. 



174: DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE. 

"Where doubt arises," says Starkie (Ev.,i., 586), "from 
circumstances of an apparently opposite and conflicting 
tendency, the first step in the natural order of inquiry is 
to ascertain whether they be not in reality reconcilable, 
especially when circumstances cannot be rejected without 
imputing perjury to a witness ; for perjury is not to be 
presumed ; and in the absence of all suspicion, that hypoth- 
esis is to be adopted which consists with and reconciles all 
the circumstances which the case supplies." (See also 
Starkie, i., 578, 582.) 

Take the familiar case of the taxing when Cyrenius was 
governor of Syria (Luke ii. 2). Everybody knows how 
confidently it was asserted that Luke was in error because 
Cyrenius' government of Syria was several years later 
than Luke makes it. Equally, every one knows how that 
difficulty was met by the supposition, made almost a cer- 
tainty, that Cyrenius was twice governor of Syria, once at 
the time in question and once later. Even if the suppo- 
sition were not as probable as it is, if there were no other 
way of solving the difficulty, we should be justified, by the 
principle of law, in assuming it, rather than to assume that 
a witness as intelligent as Luke, and with his opportunities 
of knowledge, and with no motive for misstatement, should 
either wilfully or carelessly have made so gross an error. 
Here the rule fits perfectly : " In the absence of all suspi- 
cion, that hypothesis is to be adopted which consists with 
and reconciles all the circumstances which the case sup- 
plies" 

In regard to certain objections to the Mosaic record, e. 
g., the improbability of the desert sustaining the host of 
the Israelites we select this as an example of a mass of 
like objections Dean Stanley, while holding in general to 
the historic fact, says, the recorded miracles do not meet 
the difficulty, and we have no right to add to them. For 
" if we have no warrant to take away, we have no warrant 



DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE. 175 

to add." If by this he meant we have no right to add to 
the inspired word as a part of it what is not in it, he is 
quite correct. But if he meant, as he evidently did, that 
we have no right to make a reasonable supposition to ex- 
plain an apparent difficulty of the Word, no utterance can 
be more groundless. He might as well object that Moses 
could not possibly have led the Israelites through the desert 
forty years, because no man could do that without sleep- 
ing ; and the record does not say that Moses slept during 
all that time, and " we have no warrant to add " to the 
record ! 

The same difficulty is urged by others from the present 
barrenness of the desert, which it is contended is substan- 
tially as it was in the time of the Exodus. This is to be met 
not so much by hypothesis as by the facts (1) That the 
condition of the desert was very different then from its 
condition now. Because the country around Philadelphia 
cannot now support a tribe of Indians by hunting and fish- 
ing, it does not follow that it could not do this two hun- 
dred years ago. (2) God had undertaken to bring the 
nation out. If every miracle necessary to this end is not 
recorded, it does not prove that it was not wrought. 

This suggests an obvious and very important considera- 
tion. Facts may now le missing which were perfectly 
well known at the time of the event, but which have not 
been preserved. Hence, if a difficulty can be removed by 
a reasonable supposition of a missing fact, we are entitled 
to make that supposition. 

"Webster (Works, v. 6, p. 64), in his address to the jury 
on the celebrated trial of the Knapps for the murder of 
Capt. White, of Salem, Mass., says : " In explaining cir- 
cumstances of evidence which are apparently irreconcila- 
ble, or unaccountable, if a fact be suggested which at once 
accounts for all, and reconciles all, by whomsoever it may 
be stated, it is still difficult not to believe that such fact is 



176 DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE. 

the true fact belonging to the case." The missing fact that 
was wanted in this case to show a motive for the murder, 
was the stealing of a will, or the purpose to steal a will, and 
this proved the true hypothesis. 

To illustrate by a familiar incident of the Old Testa- 
ment history. The prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel fore- 
tell the fate of the last king of Judah, Zedekiah. (Jer. 
xxxii. ; Ezek. xii.) They declare that he shall be taken 
captive by the king of Babylon, that he shall go to 
Babylon, and that he shall die in Babylon ; yet Ezekiel 
expressly says that he shall not see Babylon. Now here 
is apparently as gross contradiction as there can be ; and 
if our information stopped here it would be impossible 
to reconcile it. Fortunately, however, the explanation is 
given in the history. From 2 Kings xxv. we learn that 
the king of Babylon, when Zedekiah was brought into his 
presence at Riblah, ordered his eyes to be put out, and sent 
him blind to Babylon. So that he saw the king of Baby- 
lon, he went to Babylon, he died in Babylon, and yet he 
never saw Babylon. But and this is the point of this 
familiar case if this unexpected and extraordinary fact had 
not been stated, how absolutely impossible it would have 
been to give any satisfactory solution of the difficulty. It 
may be doubted whether any supposition as violent as this 
needs to be made to reconcile every alleged contradiction 
of the Bible. 

A remarkable illustration of the power of a missing fact 
occurs in the history of the overthrow of Babylon itself. 
The Scripture account (Dan. v.) says that Belshazzar was 
king of Babylon ; that he was in the city engaged in a 
feast at the time of its capture, and that he was slain. 

Reliable secular historians give the name of the king as 
!N"abonnedus or Labynetus, and state that he was not in 
the city when it was captured ; that he was not killed, but 
taken prisoner, kindly treated, and allowed to retire to 



DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE, ITT 

private life. These different accounts were not only 
eagerly seized upon by skeptics as proofs of the error of the 
Scriptures, but even Biblical scholars admitted them to be 
incapable of reconciliation. No longer ago than when- the 
writer was in the Theological Seminary, that prince of 
Biblical scholars, Addison Alexander, said that no solution 
of the difficulty was known. He was too wise a man to 
say that no solution was possible. Kitto, in his Cyclo- 
pedia, declared that no hypothesis could harmonize the 
accounts. Yet the reconciliation was perfectly simple. A 
cylinder of historic records discovered by Sir Henry Kaw- 
linson in the ruins of Lower Babylon, showed that there 
were, at this time, two kings of Babylon, a father and a 
son. One was occupying a stronghold near the city ; the 
other was defending the city itself. The latter was taken 
and slain ; the former was spared. Thus, by the Provi- 
dential bringing to light of a fact buried for centuries, 
that which had seemed to be, and which had repeatedly 
and triumphantly been proclaimed to be, and which had 
been given up as being an irreconcilable contradiction, 
was shown to be perfectly harmonious. Yet if the hy- 
pothesis of two kings had been suggested as an explana- 
tion, before the discovery of the fact, it would have been 
hissed out of court by the whole skeptical school. 

The two accounts of the death of Judas have not 
passed out of the field of popular objection. Matthew 
(xxvii. 5) says he committed suicide. Luke (Acts i. 18) 
says he fell headlong, and burst asunder. He does not 
say where he fell from, or what were the circumstances of 
the fall ; and it is certainly not impossible, or even im- 
probable, that both accounts are true. The traitor hung 
himself, possibly on the verge of a precipice the sup- 
posed spot furnishes all the conditions for this and after- 
ward (how long is not said), the rope, or the limb of the 
tree, gave way, and he fell, striking first on the rocks at 



178 DIFFICULTIES OF THE BIBLE. 

the foot of the tree, and then plunging over the precipice 
with the result described by Luke. 

The case is not without a parallel. A few weeks since 
the papers noticed the death of a gentleman in one of our 
Western States. According to one account, he perished in 
a railroad disaster ; according to another, he committed 
suicide a contradiction almost exactly like that in the 
case of Judas. Yet there was no real discrepancy. With 
his wife and child, he was on the fatal train that met its 
doom at Chatsworth. His child was killed. He and his 
wife were taken from the ruins terribly injured. The 
wife soon died. In despair, and with no hope of his own 
life, he drew his pistol and sent the ball through his own 
head. He perished in the Chatsworth disaster, and he 
committed suicide. 

The application of these principles of law the admis- 
sion of any reasonable hypothesis, or of an hypothesis that 
may seem improbable, if it removes the difficulty ; the sup- 
position of missing facts known at the time but now lost 
principles of constant application in our courts of justice 
releases at once the pressure from a large part of the ob- 
jections to the inspired record. The accounts of the heal- 
ing of the blind men at Jericho, and the Resurrection of 
Christ, two of the most difficult of full explanation in 
the New Testament, require no more than this. It is not 
hard to present reasonable hypotheses to meet the cases as 
they stand. And if all the facts were known to us, we be- 
lieve the harmony would be as complete and as simple as 
that of the histories of the siege and capture of Babylon. 

Our limits warn us to draw this paper to a close. We 
are aware we have trodden a field that may be quite fa- 
miliar to the members of the Conference. But in the 
multiplied forms in which the truth of the Bible is now 
assailed, and among the thousands whose faith has been 
shaken by arguments that they are not prepared to answer, 



DIFFICUL TIES OF THE BIBLE. 179 

it is possible that some of these suggestions may not be 
without force. 

To such hearers, if such are here, and especially to those 
who are feeling the brunt and power of the skeptical ob- 
jections that are pressing everywhere, we may say, chang- 
ing in a single word the language of one of the most emi- 
nent of American jurists : " All that the Bible asks of 
men (on this field) is that they would be consistent with 
themselves ; that they would treat its evidence as they 
treat the evidence of other things, and that they would 
try and judge its actors and witnesses as they deal with 
their fellow-men, when testifying to human affairs and ac- 
tions in human tribunals." (Greenleaf.) 

In the meantime, if there are difficulties that do not 
yield to present knowledge, we can afford to wait. Many 
objections once supposed to be unanswerable have been 
answered. And the process is going on. God is very 
patient. But we may be assured that He who, just as the 
occasion has demanded, has summoned up the silent wit- 
nesses to His Word from the valley of the Nile, from, the 
stormy cliffs of Sinai, from the plains of Mesopotamia, 
and from the sullen shores of the Dead Sea, will not fail 
in the future to give all the confirmation of His truth that 
the assailed faith of His Church may need. 



THE TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES TO 
INSPIRATION. 

T. C. JOHNSON. 

THE Apostles have given us no special treatise on the 
subject of inspiration, but they have not failed to leave on 
record a number of clear and direct statements regarding 
it, while many things in their writings are assumptive of 
a definite position on the subject. Their evident upright- 
ness of character, consistency with themselves, loftiness of 
aim, honesty of purpose, and independence of each other, 
give the highest value to their testimony. It is incredi- 
ble, under the circumstances, that they should all claim 
inspiration for themselves and each other, did they not 
possess it. And if they were inspired, their testimony as 
to the Old Testament Scriptures must be accepted. We 
shall consider first, what they testify as to the fact of in- 
spiration ; second, as to its extent ; and third, as to its 
nature. 

I. AS TO THE FACT OF INSPIRATION. 

The Apostles testify that the Scriptures are given by 
inspiration of God. According to their evidence, we have 
a Bible that was given us under the special guidance and 
direction of the Holy Spirit. 

First. They testify that the Spirit was promised and 
given them in such a way as to make them authoritative 
teachers. John affirms that Jesus promised them this 
" other comforter," who should bring all things to their 
remembrance that he had taught them, should guide them 
into all the truth, and show them things to come. Peter, 
(180) 



TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES. 181 

as reported by Luke, testifies that the Pentecostal experi- 
ence was an actual reception of the Holy Ghost, whereby 
they were endued with power, and spoke and acted as they 
were moved. In all the testimony as to the gift of the 
Spirit, it is positively implied, that it would at least enable 
the Apostles to become infallible teachers .of the truth. 
It was not intended to render them infallible as men. 
When they taught orally or in writing, it was their privi- 
lege and their bounden duty to do so under the direction 
and guidance of the Holy Spirit. They would naturally 
be most careful in what they committed to writing, and 
pen no word that was not prompted and approved by the 
Spirit. Thus, we are authorized to expect inspired Scrip- 
tures from teachers who enjoyed the special gift of the 
Holy Ghost. 

Second. The Apostles claim inspiration for their own 
personal writings. This is true of them all, if we may 
regard an evident assumption as a claim. It seems that 
the Apostles are either directly or indirectly the human 
authors of the whole New Testament. Now, they invari- 
ably write with the authority and assurance of infallible 
teachers. They never theorize, or express mere opinions. 
They assert facts, proclaim doctrines, and give command- 
ments that could only proceed from the Holy Spirit, or 
else expose them to the charge of being mere dogmatists, 
if not positive blasphemers. Like their Master, they 
teach as those having authority, and not as the scribes. 

Paul and Peter evidently mean to give more directly 
the force of inspired authority to their epistles, by writing 
expressly in the character of Apostles of Jesus Christ. To 
write as an Apostle, was to write with authority ; and to 
write with authority was to write under the guidance of 
the Spirit. To add force to this truth, we find Paul sign- 
ing his name with his own hand as a token in every epis- 
tle (2 Thes. iii. 17). This would seem to imply that 



182 TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES. 

unauthorized and erroneous epistles were being written to 
the churches, to which 2 Thes. ii. 2, 3, may refer. " Nor 
yet be troubled .... by epistle as from us, as that the 
day of the Lord is now present : let no man beguile you 
in any wise." Paul was recognized as the true teacher 
and prophet, and his own name, written in his own hand, 
was the token both of the genuineness and inspiration of 
his epistles. In some instances we find the Apostles 
boldly asserting the truthfulness and perfection of what 
they have written, which, under the circumstances, would 
be the highest presumption and folly if they were not 
conscious of their own inspiration. John, at the close of 
his gospel, says, referring to himself : " This is the dis- 
ciple which beareth witness of these things, and wrote 
these things; and we know that his witness is true" 
(Jno. xxi. 24). How could he know that the sublime 
statements in the very first verses of his gospel were true, 
if he had not penned them under the guidance of the 
Spirit ; and that his record of the Saviour's most wonderful 
and mysterious teachings were accurate, if the Spirit had not 
brought these things to his remembrance ? At the end of 
the Revelation he pronounces a most fearful anathema on 
any person who should add to or subtract from the words 
of that wonderful book which had almost wholly to do 
with the future. Could there be a stronger claim to its 
infallibility or inspiration ? 

Paul says, as to the directions he gives in the First 
Epistle to the Corinthians : " If any man thinketh himself 
to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him take knowledge of the 
things which I write unto you, that they are the command- 
ment of the Lord " (1 Cor. xiv. 37). And in his Epistle 
to the Galatians he wishes it understood at the beginning, 
that he writes by direct, divine authority, and he pro- 
nounces the curse of God upon any man who should preach 
a different Gospel from that which he had preached, which 



TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES. 



183 



in this epistle he restates in detail. He must believe or know 
himself to write as instructed and moved by the Holy 
Ghost. But this Apostle's testimony is still more direct in 
1 Cor., second chapter. He there shows that the subject- 
matter of apostolic teaching is something the natural man 
can neither understand nor teach. " But unto us," he says 
(ver. 10-13), " God revealed them through the Spirit : for 
the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 
.... That we might a know the things that are freely given 
to us by God. Which things also we speak, not in words 
which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teach- 
eth." Here Paul plainly declares that the Holy Spirit is 
the author of the truth he teaches, and that it is under His 
guidance that he proclaims it whether orally or in writing. 

In the seventh chapter, verse 25, the Apostle says : " Now, 
concerning virgins, I have no commandment of the Lord ; 
but I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy 
of the Lord to be faithful." Also in verse 40, speaking of 
a widow in the " present distress," previously referred to, 
he says : " But she is happier, if she abide as she is, after my 
judgment, and I think that I also have the Spirit of God." 
These passages show : first, that the epistle, as a whole, 
consists of doctrines, commandments, etc., received directly 
from the Lord by revelation. Second, that the directions 
referred to in these passages are from his own judgment ; 
but, third, that he thinks or 'believes himself to be giving 
them under the guidance of the Spirit. This modest claim 
to inspiration where he gives his judgment, does, in reality, 
emphasize the full inspiration of all his epistles.* 

The term, " think" in the last passage above, does not 
imply a doubt in the Apostle's mind. The original word, 
dokeo, is ordinarily used as a modest and courteous way of 
expressing a strong conviction. So Paul writes and teaches 



* Compare Dr. Brookes' Paper on this subject, p. 159. ED. 



184 TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES. 

as one who has the Spirit of God, and has obtained mercy 
of the Lord to be faithful. 

Third. The Apostles bear testimony to the inspiration of 
each other. This they do in recognizing each other as of 
equal authority in their works and teaching, and classing 
the apostolic college with the prophets as the foundation 
upon which the Church is built, Jesus Christ being the 
chief corner-stone. But Peter bears direct testimony to the 
inspiration of Paul's epistles. In his Second Epistle, iii. 
15, 16, he says : " Account that the long-suffering of our 
Lord is salvation ; even as our beloved brother Paul also, 
according to the wisdom given to him, wrote unto you ; as 
also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things ; 
wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the 
ignorant and unsteadfast wrest, as they do also the other 
Scriptures, unto their own destruction." Here, first, Peter 
classes all Paul's epistles with " the other Scriptures" re- 
ferring, doubtless, to the Old Testament, and probably, 
also, to other apostolic writings. Second, he states that 
Paul wrote according to the wisdom given to him. This 
most evidently refers to supernatural wisdom. Third, he 
states that there are some things in these epistles " hard to 
be understood," which is not a reflection on Paul's per- 
spicuity, but a recognition of the supernatural nature of 
the teaching. Fourth, he states that certain persons wrest 
them to their own destruction. Such could not be the case 
were the epistles not inspired by the Holy Ghost. This 
testimony is conclusive as to Paul's epistles, which make up 
such a large portion of the New Testament. And it might 
be noted that in that little word " also," " Our beloved 
brother Paul also wrote," Peter suggests that his own and 
other apostolic writings come under the same head. Thus, 
inasmuch as all the New Testament was written by the Apos- 
tles or under their direction, we have their own very clear 
testimony to the inspiration of this portion of our Bible. 



TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES. 185 

Fourth. The Apostles testify to the inspiration of the 
Old Testament Scriptures. Their Old Testament was 
certainly identical with ours. Wherever they use the 
term Scripture or Scriptures, they refer to this collection 
of writings. 

First. They refer to them as " the Holy Scriptures," 
which points to God as their author. Also their human 
authors are spoken of as holy men, which would indicate 
that in addition to being upright in character, they were 
under the special influence of the Holy Spirit. 

Second. The Apostles refer to them and quote them in 
such a way as to assert their infallibility. There was an 
end of all controversy when they could say " it is writ- 
ten" " What saith the Scriptures ? " was Paul's ultimate 
appeal, and the strongest argument for the truth of the 
Gospel was that its great facts were " according to the 
Scriptures." They make their quotations from all parts 
of the Old Testament, and refer them to the Holy Spirit 
and to their human authors interchangeably. Quite fre- 
quently the Holy Spirit is referred to as the principal, 
while the human author is not mentioned at all, or is 
mentioned as the agent or organ through which the Spirit 
speaks. 

Third. They positively assert their inspiration. Peter 
testifies that " no prophecy ever came by the will of man : 
but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy 
Ghost." This at least asserts the inspiration of the Old 
Testament as a whole, since the prophetic element is the 
very soul and substance of it. And Paul says (Rom. xv. 
4) that " WJiatsoever things were written aforetime, were 
written for our learning, that through patience and through 
comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope." They 
were all written for the use of the Church, and no one 
but the u Spirit of the prophets " was competent to guide 
in their writing. Also the familiar passage in 2 Tim. iii. 



186 TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES. 

15-1 7, declares to Timothy, as in the new version, that 
" from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are 
able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which 
is in Christ Jesus. Every Scripture inspired of God is 
also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for 
instruction in righteousness ; that the man of God may 
be complete, furnished completely unto every good work." 
Here the sacred writings are evidently all the Old Testa- 
ment Scriptures and the "every Scripture inspired of 
God " is certainly no less comprehensive, while it would 
also include the apostolic writings. The Apostles, like 
ourselves, applied the term " Scripture " to none but the 
sacred writings, and they nowhere speak of any Scripture 
as uninspired, and there is no reason for supposing that 
Paul implies such a thing in the passage above. But this 
point will come up again. 

Thus we have the testimony of the Apostles to the fact 
that the Bible as we have it is inspired. We come now 
to their evidence as to the extent of this inspiration. 



H. THE EXTENT OF INSPIRATION. 

Some regard certain books and parts of books as in- 
spired and others as not. Others hold that while the 
Bible as a whole is inspired, it nevertheless contains more 
or less matter erroneous or otherwise for which the Holy 
Spirit is not responsible. Some also contend that while 
the Spirit guided in the selection of matter, the authors 
were left to themselves in choice of words and sentences 
through which to communicate it. But the testimony of 
the Apostles is 

first. That inspiration attaches to all the books in all 
their pails. This appears in the testimony already pro- 
duced. There is nothing in all they say that would cast a 
suspicion on any book or any part of a book. To them it 



TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES. 187 

was all " Holy Scripture.'' Of the thirty-nine books of the 
Old Testament they quote or refer to all but five, namely, 
Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah, Song of Solomon, and Obadiah. 
When we remember that they were not quoting to prove 
inspiration, nor even to show that they recognized it, this 
wide range of quotations is remarkable, and demonstrates 
their settled belief in the full inspiration of all the books. 
Those they omit to quote represent the historical, pro- 
phetical, and poetical portions, proving that no class of 
writings was especially slighted. 

Second. That inspiration attaches to each and every 
thought and expression contained in the Bible as originally 
given. This means that whatever was written down, even 
to the smallest details, was in accordance with the will and 
direction of the Holy Spirit. So that the writers put in 
nothing that was erroneous, nothing that was irrelative, 
and nothing that was unprofitable. Each expression had an 
object which the Holy Spirit wished to conserve. Thus, 
John testifies that not a word could be added to or taken 
from his book of Revelation without God's severest dis- 
pleasure. Peter does not intimate that the "some things 
hard to be understood," written by Paul, might be erro- 
neous theories of his own, and need give no one any 
trouble. He clearly implies that he wrote nothing except 
what the Spirit moved him to write. Paul declares, in a 
passage noticed above, that " every Scripture inspired of 
God is also profitable," etc. In the margin of the New 
Version is the reading : " Every Scripture is inspired of 
God, and profitable," etc. This translation of "pasa 
graphe" every Scripture is undoubtedly the correct 
one, and must embrace every sentence of all Scripture. 
According to the marginal rendering, we have Paul's 
testimony clear and indisputable to the inspiration of ev- 
erything in detail that the sacred writers penned. Ac- 
cording to the rendering in the text, there may be two 



188 TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES. 

interpretations. One is, that every Scripture that is in- 
spired is also profitable. The other, every Scripture, 
since it is inspired, is also profitable. The marginal read- 
ing, the context, and the general tenor of Scripture, would 
certainly favor the latter interpretation. The Apostle com- 
mends Timothy for his familiarity with the Scriptures, 
which, being known by him in every part, would make 
him wise unto salvation, and thoroughly furnish him unto 
every good work. And what he really says in this text is, 
that every Scripture is profitable, because inspired of God. 
In the expression, " sacred writings," he refers to what 
Timothy knew, as a whole. Tn the " every Scripture in- 
spired of God," he advances to what Timothy knew in 
detail. The u sacred writings " are the Old Testament, 
" every Scripture " of which, being inspired of God, is 
profitable. 

The Apostles surely assume this truth in all their quo- 
tations. The only evidence needed for the divine author- 
ity of a passage of Scripture was, that "it is written." 
The only criterion for the selection of a passage was, that 
it was applicable to the point in hand. 

Third. Their testimony is, that inspiration attaches to 
the very words of Scripture. That is, that the Holy 
Spirit " moved " the writers, not only in the selection and 
production of thought, but also in the choice of language 
for its expression. This they assume when they quote and 
insist on particular words as divine authority for a doc- 
trine or statement. Thus, in Galatians, iii. 16, Paul ar- 
gues that the promise to Abraham and his seed, had ref- 
erence to Christ, because the term, seed, as of one, and not 
seeds, as of many, was used. The Holy Spirit had clothed 
the thought with its proper word. 

It is true they often vary from the original in their 
quotations. But they vary under the guidance of the 
Spirit, who, of course, is not always confined to a particu- 



TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES. 189 

lar word or sentence for the expression of a particular 
thought. 

But Paul clearly testifies to verbal inspiration in 1 Cor. 
ii. 13. "Which things," he says, the things revealed 
and taught by the Spirit, " which things, also, we speak, not 
in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the 
Spirit teacheth ; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." 
There it is, plainly. The Spirit taught the words to be 
used. There are different translations of the last clause 
of the verse, but the meaning is evidently that of appro- 
priately clothing thought given by the Spirit in words 
given by the Spirit. John, also, in warning against addi- 
tion to or subtraction from the Revelation, makes his 
warning apply to the very words. None must be added. 
None must be taken away. None must be changed, for 
that would be taking away some and adding others. Why 
such warning, if the very words were not divine ? 

III. THE NATURE OF INSPIRATION. 

We consider, finally and briefly, the testimony of the 
Apostles as to the nature of inspiration. Some would 
make the Biblical writers mere machines in the hands of 
the Spirit, while others would define inspiration simply as 
spiritual illumination. But so far as the Apostles throw 
any light upon this subject, they show, first, that while 
the writers were controlled by the Spirit, they at the same 
time used their own faculties in the communication of 
truth. Thus, Paul claims to use his judgment in giving 
directions and advice to the Corinthian Christians, while 
at the same time he claims to be guided by the Spirit. 
According to Peter, the " will of man " was held in abey- 
ance, while " men spake from God, being moved by the 
Holy Ghost." The original word for "moved" isjyhero, 
" to bear." The writers were ~borne along in their work 
by the Spirit. The Spirit's will, instead of their own, pre- 



190 TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES, 

sided over their faculties. It was the men who spak< 
using their own faculties, their own style, their own 
tongue, and even their own vocabulary ; but they spake 
as moved, not by their own will or reason, but by the 
Holy Spirit. 

This same testimony also shows, in the second place, 
that inspiration is much more than spiritual illumination. 
This latter would not exclude the " will of man." It 
might enable him to understand and speak the truth with 
fluency and power, but he would speak as elevated and in- 
fluenced by the Holy Spirit, but not as moved thereby in 
such a way that the Spirit would be responsible for all 
that he should say. 

The wisdom with which Paul wrote, according to his- 
own testimony and that of Peter, was a wisdom not of 
this world; not even human wisdom illuminated. It 
was the wisdom of the Spirit that enabled him to w r rite 
things future, things supernatural, and things perfectly 
adapted to human needs. 

Still another point, in the third place, stands out clear 
enough in this testimony. It is that the fundamental 
idea in inspiration is that men were rendered infallible 
in the communication of matter, whether of truth re- 
vealed, truth discovered, sins and follies of devils and 
men, mere personal matters between the writers and oth- 
ers, or what not. They recognize the vast difference be- 
tween receiving, whether by revelation or otherwise, and 
communicating to others. Men spake as they were 
moved. Paul wrote according to the wisdom given him. 
The things which he wrote were the commandments of 
God. They all spake or wrote as the Spirit gave them 
utterance. In many cases the inspiration embraces the 
receiving, but in every case it attaches to the communi- 
cating. Herein is the very soul of the great doctrine, as 
shown by all the apostolic testimony. This thought in 



TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES. 



191 



connection with the nature of inspiration also emphasizes 
the truth of verbal inspiration. To give up verbal in- 
spiration would indeed be to give up the very soul of 
the doctrine. The Apostles clearly teach that the Holy 
Spirit has so inspired men as to make their writings His 
own. 

We are left in the dark as to the exact method of the 
Spirit's operation on the mind in His work of inspiration. 
But it is sufficient for us that the apostolic testimony falls 
in with all other in assuring us a Bible that is without 
any mixture of error, and is for us a perfect rule of faith 
and practice. 

"We have said that in the very nature of the case this 
testimony of the Apostles is of the very highest value. 
Paul and Peter and John have been examined as the chief 
witnesses. If modern critics would look upon the two 
latter as unlearned men, not, capable of taking a critical 
view of the subject, they certainly cannot so look upon 
Paul. Though they regard the human intellect of Jesus 
as untrained and unscientific, yet they cannot deny to 
Paul, both morally and intellectually, the ability to cope 
with any of them in the search after truth. He is their 
equal at least in social standing, in intellectual power, in 
mental training, in the love of truth, and in critical in- 
sight. He was a master in Roman law and learning. 
He had studied the Greek poets and was versed in her 
philosophy, and he certainly knew as much about the 
character and genius of the Hebrew language, which to 
him was a living tongue, as those in our day who pride 
themselves on being experts in the "higher criticism." 
Men talk about the light of the nineteenth century, as if 
wisdom had never entered the world before its dawn. 
There are many things which the world knows now that 
Paul was ignorant of ; but upon a thousand things, and 
especially upon the subject in hand, he was by far more 



192 TESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES. 

competent to sit in judgment than any scientific or philo- 
logical expert of the present day. 

We listen to the jargon of biblical criticism of to-day 
that comes from the giant intellects on both sides of the 
waters. "We admire the learning and research and respect 
the honesty of many of them ; while we are left in utter 
confusion as to just how much Scripture we have, or 
whether indeed we have any or not. From these we turn 
to the great Apostle to the Greeks and Romans. In 
breadth of intellect, in sweep of vision, in consecration to 
the truth, and in originality of research, he is more than a 
match for all of them. While he speaks from the van- 
tage-ground of a nearer and clearer view, and of a much 
" higher criticism " than any of their most able exponents, 
whose testimony shall we receive ? For my own part, I 
would not exchange an uninspired opinion of the Apostle 
Paul on the things concerning the kingdom of Christ for 
the mature and unanimous verdict of all these modern 
critics combined. What the Apostle gives us is reasonable, 
clear, and convincing, and provides us with a sure founda- 
tion on which to stand. He seals to us the " faithful say- 
ing and worthy of all acceptation," that " all Scripture is 
given by inspiration of God." And while he and the 
other Apostles bear their perpetual testimony down 
through the ages, there comes also the ever-living, never- 
changing voice from above, " These are my witnesses, 
hear ye them." 



THE WONDEKFUL BOOK 

JAMES E. GILBERT, D.D. 

THE honey-bee constructs a waxen cell and deposits 
therein its future food, made of sweet juices extracted 
from the flowers. Men marvel at the tiny store-house, its 
delicious contents, and the adaptation of each to the other, 
as exhibitions of an intelligence and skill possessed only 
by the provident insect. So our Bible is a depository of 
precious truths. Its structure is unique, well fitted to re- 
ceive and preserve what is there laid up for the edification 
and comfort of mankind. The volume presents to the 
student of to-day a series of wonders the marks of its 
superhuman authorship. 

I. The first wonder which we shall mention is the unity 
of its Testaments. 

The two great parts into which the book is divided were 
written to set forth two great systems of religion the 
Jewish and the Christian. Outwardly these religions were 
totally dissimilar. The former was designed for a single 
people the descendants of Abraham. It was in close 
relations with the civil government. Its ministers and 
houses of worship were supported chiefly from the public 
treasury, and were frequently used as political agencies. 
It had an elaborate and expensive ceremonial. It enacted 
many laws for the preservation of race purity, for the in- 
tegrity and defense of the nation, for the good order of 
society, for the regulation of domestic life, for the gov- 
ernment of the priesthood, for the observance of times 
and seasons, and for the administration of rites. 

(193) 



194 THE WONDERFUL BOOK. 

The Christian religion was designed for all the posterity 
of Adam ; it offered no barrier to the freest intercourse 
of the races ; it required every disciple to be a world-wide 
propagandist. It sought no alliance with the State, it 
allowed none; it openly proclaimed its kingdom as not 
of this world. It depended not upon taxes, but upon 
gifts, and it measured these not by tithes, but by ability. 
It prescribed no forms of worship ; its only ordinances, 
the initiative baptism and the memorial supper, were not 
regulated by rules. It compressed all laws into two love 
to God and love to man. 

The Testaments are full records of these widely dis- 
similar religions their rise, progress, and establishment ; 
their doctrine, practice, and spirit. So perfect are the 
records that the devotee might have learned therein con- 
cerning all his duties and privileges, and, if both systems 
of religion were to perish from the earth, they might be 
reproduced, with all their distinguishing characteristics, 
from these same old documents. And yet the two Testa- 
ments, written by two classes of men for distinct and sep- 
arate purposes, when brought together are found to be 
parts of one great whole. There is a vital and organic 
connection between them. Neither is perfect without the 
other. In fact the New is an expected outcome and prod- 
uct, the natural expansion and complement of the Old. 
And what is more remarkable on reading the entire vol- 
ume, whose two Testaments are bound together by delicate 
threads running through both one discovers that in re- 
ality there were not two religions, ~but one religion ; that 
Judaism was the preparatory and Christianity the final 
form of one great covenant between the eternal Father 
and His erring children. 

How shall such unity be explained ? It could not have 
been fortuitous. Neither could it have come through hu- 
man wisdom alone. For who shall penetrate below the 



THE WONDERFUL BOOK. 195 

surface of things and discover the purpose of the Al- 
mighty ? And who shall so describe passing events that 
in the sequel they shall appear but parts of one plan cover- 
ing the ages ? And who is able to make dissimilar things 
agree ? Besides, the conditions under which the Biblical 
writers performed their tasks precluded any concerted 
action among them. The Old Testament, completed four 
centuries before the Christian era began, could not have 
been shaped with reference to subsequent writings. The 
New Testament penmen, acting as mere men, had many 
reasons for laying an entirely new foundation. Christi- 
anity came to succeed or displace Judaism. It proposed 
to abolish venerable institutions as no longer needed, and 
change the customs and manners of the people. How nat- 
ural the inference that with these institutions, customs, 
and manners, the books wherein they were taught should 
likewise be rejected ! Many well-informed disciples have 
reached that conclusion : sects have been built upon it. 
Moreover, the founders of the Christian system were 
hated and persecuted by the dignitaries of the Jewish 
Church. Remembering the death of their Master, smart- 
ing under a sense of personal wrong, how could the writers 
of the New Testament become the authors of the second 
half of the sacred volume, ingeniously fitting it to the 
first half then in the custody of their enemies ? 

It may be replied that Christianity was evolved from 
Judaism ; that Christ fulfilled Messianic prophecies ; that 
the writers only recognized what had become historic; 
and that their only hope of success was to show the con- 
nection between the old and the new. Grant all this. But 
if there was an evolution, there must have been an invo- 
lution. It follows that God established Judaism with 
su*h inherent properties that in the fullness of time it 
could be transformed into Christianity, and the essentials 
of spiritual life be retained. But how were a few men 



196 THE WONDERFUL BOOK, 

qualified to note the transformation ? Jesus of Nazareth 
did not meet the Jewish expectation of the Messiah. The 
doctors of that time interpreted the prophecies as pointing 
to an earthly prince. Even the followers of Jesus, being 
Jews, imbibed these notions and held them tenaciously. 
Shortly after His crucifixion they cried in sorrow, " We 
trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed 
Israel," and after His resurrection they eagerly inquired 
of Him, " Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the 
kingdom of Israel ? " It is evident that during the entire 
earthly career of Jesus, His followers knew Him not. To 
be sure, very early in the ministry, Andrew said, "We 
have found the Messias," and Philip said, " We have found 
Him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets did 
write"; and, later, Peter exclaimed, "Thou art the Christ, 
the Son of the living God." But if they believed Him to 
be divine, the long promised one, it is certain that they 
regarded Him only as the deliverer of their nation from 
the Roman power. 

How, then, were these men divested of such opinions ? 
How did they afterward learn the spiritual mission of Je- 
sus ? How did they come at the true sense of the Old 
Testament which the learned men had failed to acquire 
by dih'gent study ? And how, with these improved ideas, 
could they, unlettered and unknown, write treatises which, 
in after-ages, should be accepted as faithful expositions of 
the writings of the old prophets ? There is but one rea- 
sonable answer to these questions, and that is given in the 
writings themselves they were divinely helped. We are 
expressly told that Peter's imperfect faith was not by the 
unassisted exercise of his powers, for Jesus said, " Flesh 
and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father 
which is in heaven." Toward the close of His ministry, 
the Master informed His disciples that after His departure 
the Holy Spirit should come to them and lead them into 



THE WONDERFUL BOOK. 197 

all truth, and added, "He" that is, the Spirit " shall 
testify of me." "He shall take of the things of mine, and 
show them unto you." Paul said, " It pleased God to re- 
veal His Son in me "; and, in his first letter to the Corin- 
thians, he declared, "No man can say that Jesus is the 
Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." In short the new con- 
ception of Jesus which constitutes the chief feature of 
the New Testament, was obtained by inspiration. "Holy 
men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 

II. This brings us to another Biblical wonder, the 
symmetrical growth of each Testament. 

If, in a brief space of time, a man, or a company of 
men, had written a treatise on Judaism or Christianity, 
an orderly handling of either subject might be expected. 
But the Testaments were not produced in that way. They 
were formed gradually they grew. About thirty differ- 
ent men, residing in Egypt, Arabia, Palestine, and Bab- 
ylon, were employed on the Old Testament, and they 
were distributed over eleven centuries, beginning with 
1500 B.C., very few of them being contemporary. The 
New Testament was written by eight men, scattered 
about the Roman empire, having but little association 
together, and they were occupied, from first to last, about 
sixty years. What might be expected under such cir- 
cumstances? Just what always occurs in every depart- 
ment of purely human endeavor, provided these men 
wrote self-moved. Whatever man does is imperfect. 
They who come after discover and correct the mistakes 
of those who went before. Each Testament, therefore, if 
it was the work of men, ought to present a series of ad- 
vances from error to truth, from lesser to fuller knowl- 
edge. 

What did occur? Samuel did not correct Moses: Malachi 
did not dispute Samuel. The thirty writers of the Old Tes- 
tament are in full accord throughout. The work of each, 



198 THE WONDERFUL BOOK. 

perfect in itself, needed no revision. No one assumed supe- 
riority over another. Each accepted at its full original value 
what his predecessors wrote. Each liad one and the same 
great theme, religion the same religion, always the 
same religion. No one, however religion fared among 
the people, whether it was received or rejected, appeared 
to know any defect in religion, or dream of any change 
in it. Each taught with boldness the same great funda- 
mental and saving truths, whether men would hear or 
forbear. Each had one end in view, to testify of the 
promised Saviour, who was coming through the seed of 
Abraham, and to prepare for His advent. And, when the 
last sentence was written, that purpose was as successfully 
accomplished as if, living in the same city at the same 
time, they had been permitted to hold frequent confer- 
ence ibr the joint performance of such a task under spe- 
cific directions, with the materials carefully collected and 
placed in their hands. 

So it was with the writers of the New Testament. 
The Judaizing influence at Jerusalem, tending to cere- 
monial bondage, the subtle speculations of Grecian phi- 
losophers, tending toward Gnosticism, the abominations 
of Paganism, intrenched at the capital of the empire, 
working toward ecclesiastical imperialism, the unrest 
and hatred of subdued provinces provoking revolt and 
tumult, the intrigues of ambitious men seeking place and 
pi under, the distinctions of race and rank, causing endless 
discussions concerning natural and acquired rights, the 
persecutions of the followers of Jesus, breaking up their 
homes, and casting them out into the world as strangers, 
these, and many other circumstances by which the early 
Christian Church was distracted, did not move those eight 
men from a common purpose. Working apart, they 
worked together. They were never diverted from their 
one theme, religion the same religion taught in the Old 



THE WONDERFUL BOOK. 199 

Testament, but that religion now a gospel, tne promised 
Saviour having become historic. They never criticise or 
oppose each other. Each appears to have a definite part. 
Their completed writings show in an orderly and beauti- 
ful manner how the Christ came, how He established His 
kingdom, how He invited all men into it, how He treats 
those who enter, how finally that kingdom shall become 
universal. 

The marvellous symmetry of the Testaments will fur- 
ther appear in the logical order of the books of which 
they are composed. Our English version exhibits a prog- 
ress that is not only historical and dispensation al, but 
natural. In each Testament there is first history, then 
doctrine, afterward prophecy, not to say that any part 
is wholly destitute of any one of these elements, for then 
it would have been worthless in the period and polity to 
which it belonged, but that the chief characteristics are 
as indicated. The whole Bible, its two Testaments joined, 
is in six great sections, history, doctrine, prophecy, 
history, doctrine, prophecy. And this is the order in 
which all truth must unfold. Facts must be gathered 
before principles can be discovered and stated. But 
every fundamental tenet, every governing law of conduct, 
prompts to the diligent search for more-extended applica- 
tions, and this leads out into the realm of the unknown. 
Doctrine is the child of history and the parent of proph- 
ecy, and prophecy is only history written in advance. 
Thus, each Testament is built as a perfect mind might be 
expected to build it the record of what has been, the 
rule of what ought to be, the promise of- what shall be. 
Precisely so every science has its data, its laws, and its 
hypotheses. 

The symmetry appears, also, iu the adaptation of the 
form and dimensions of the several parts. This admits 
of very extended illustration. We have time for a few 



200 THE WONDERFUL BOOK. 

points only. Consider the historical part. Its purpose 
is to show that back of all natural phenomena, and back 
of all human endeavor, there is a supreme intelligence, a 
benevolent spirit, working according to its own will. 
Men are represented as acting freely, but results are pro- 
duced which human wisdom could never have conceived 
nor human power executed. Nature's forces, ordinarily 
operating according to an established method, are made 
at times to obey a superior force, handling them for a 
special end. Now, in the Old Testament, this exhibit is 
made in creation, in families, in tribes, and in nations. 
The condition of the ancient world required it to be made 
there first, and in that order. The individual must be 
delivered from the world of sense, from absolute subjec- 
tion to father, and chief, and king, before he can as- 
sume his rightful place as a creature of God. The im- 
portance of this work would lead us to expect that it 
would not be hastily done. The seventeen books of Old 
Testament history, sketching thirty-five centuries, fully 
meet this expectation. The broader the generalization, 
the more reliable the conclusion. Passing over to New 
Testament history, we find the supernatural displayed, 
not in nature, not in families, not in tribes, not in na- 
tions, as in the Old Testament, but in man and in the 
church. The four gospels' are four witnesses that God 
came into humanity, in the land of the Jews, and seeks 
to come into universal humanity. This exalts the indi- 
vidual from the creature to the child state. The Acts of 
the Apostles display the ecclesia, or congregation of indi- 
viduals into whose livej God has come, whom He has 
united for His service. Is not such history marvellous ? 

Turn now to the doctrinal books, in which are given the 
principles and maxims drawn from the history. Here 
again we shall find progress, proportion, and beauty. Old 
Testament doctrine is in five books, all poetic in form. 



THE WONDERFUL BOOK. 201 

Job taught the doctrines of Providence. David and 
others in the Psalms taught the doctrines of worship. 
Solomon taught the doctrines of righteousness in Proverbs 
and Ecclesiastes, and the doctrines of spiritual communion 
in the Canticles, under the symbolism of Oriental domes- 
tic life. Is not this a true order of instruction Provi- 
dence, worship, righteousness, communion ? Was it not 
all the teaching possible on the basis of Old Testament 
history? But in the New Testament, after the history of 
God's entrance into the individual and of the union of 
such individuals in a body, other doctrine may be given. 
The history of all phases of the supernatural being com- 
plete, all doctrine showing man's relation and duty thereto 
may be unfolded likewise. See how large is the space now 
occupied ! Five or six men are employed, men as unlike 
as men ever were. They proceed from various starting- 
points. They select occasions and adopt in the main the 
epistolary plan. Twenty-one pamphlets appear, addressed 
to churches, to individuals, and to peoples. They accept 
what Job, David, and Solomon had to say, but expand 
their teachings to apply to the child of God, to the in- 
dividual who has experienced a new birth, and they ex- 
plain many things long involved in mystery. Wonderful 
as all this is, it is more wonderful that the eight or nine 
teachers, Job, David, Solomon, Paul, Peter, James, John, 
Jude, all had one system of philosophy. They seem to 
have been perfectly agreed in the science of things human 
and divine, and the causes in whic'i they are contained. 
They were not of the Garden, or the Porch, or the Ly- 
ceum, or the Academy, but of the Temple. Their great 
postulates were : God, the first cause, is a loving Father ; 
man, the sinner, has been redeemed ; salvation provided, 
must be accepted. 

Look now at Bible prophecy. Is it not the necessary 
complement to the history and doctrine ? Who can study 



202 THE WONDERFUL BOOK. 

what God has done in the world of matter and in the world 
of mind without asking what He will do ? Who can trust 
a superintending power, worship the supreme good and 
seek after righteousness and communion without desires 
reaching toward things beyond ? After the death of Solo- 
mon, Old Testament history and doctrine being complete, 
there arose a very remarkable body of men. They were 
historians in the sense that they recorded passing events ; 
they were teachers in the sense that they called their con- 
temporaries to their duties. But they were more. They 
had their eyes on the future, to prepare for which was 
their chief mission. They wrote of the passing hour in 
the light of coming time. Seventeen pamphlets fell from 
their pens, awakening hope of a better day. In like man- 
ner, after the New Testament history and doctrine the 
spirit of inquiry would naturally arise. What shall be 
the outcome of this supernatural life lived in the land of 
the Jews? What reception will it have in the world? 
What awaits this Church established by Him ? What 
effect will this doctrine have upon men ? Prophecy 
alone can answer. One man, the beloved of Jesus, in his 
old age, exiled in Patmos, drew the curtain that hides the 
distant centuries and made known the ultimate universal 
triumph. That Apocalyptic vision, then humanly im- 
possible, was absolutely essential. Anything more would 
have been superfluous ; anything less would have doomed 
to oblivion all that went before. 

It may be urged that the order of the books in our 
English Bible is not the order in which they were writ- 
ten, nor the order in which they were first arranged. 
That fact signifies nothing against the other fact of sym- 
metry, but much in its favor. Suppose forty men, work- 
ing in different quarries for sixteen centuries, hew out 
stone. The blocks are laid up as rapidly as they appear 
to serve a present purpose. But when all is done it 13 



THE WONDERFUL BOOK. 203 

discovered that they may be rearranged, and that with- 
out application of square or chisel they raay be builded 
into a new form, more beautiful, as if each block had been 
expressly prepared for its particular place. Such is the 
Bible. History, doctrine, and prophecy are wrought to- 
gether as no skilled human artist could fit them into their 
respective positions. 

III. The last wonderful feature of the Bible to be men- 
tioned at this time is its adaptation to human need. 

It is well suited to man's intellect. Its truths are the 
most sublime that ever occupied or ever can occupy the 
mind, and their contemplation is fitted to exalt all the 
faculties. Besides, they are cast in such form as to make 
their acquisition both pleasing and profitable. Its pic- 
torial representations engage the imagination. Its or- 
ganic unity and symmetry, already described, commend 
it to the reasoning powers. Its seed-thoughts, deposited 
in extended narratives, require the analytic and the syn- 
thetic process for their separation and classification. Its 
grand perspective of the centuries and its lofty epochal 
characters awaken enthusiasm for study. Its steady 
march of events from the fall in Eden to the law on Sinai, 
and thence to the sacrifice on Calvary, and its commissioned 
Church going forth into the nations to testify until the 
promised Millennial morning, give meaning to earth's 
struggles and furnish an adequate basis for philosophical 
investigation. Its institutions, beginning in weakness, 
rising into power, and promoting man's highest good, fill 
the mind with awe and gratify the organizing and con- 
structive disposition. Its types and symbols, surrendered 
at length for the prefigured substance, cultivate the habit 
of penetrating below the temporary and phenomenal to 
learn the permanent and the essential. Its uniform 
method, from fact to doctrine, from doctrine to duty, 
tends to invigorate the mind by exciting it to normal 



204 THE WONDERFUL BOOK. 

activity. Its style historic, poetic, didactic, argumenta- 
tive, hortatory, and denunciatory meets the varied men- 
tal states. To sum up all in one sentence, the Scriptures 
of the Old and the New Testament constitute a field in 
which the noblest intellect may expatiate forever with 
delight, and continually advance from strength to strength 
and from glory to glory. 

Again, the Bible is adapted to man's social need. It 
fully recognizes all the earthly relations sustained by the 
individual, and defines and enjoins the duties of those re- 
lations. Its ideal home is that for which every true heart 
aspires. Without the Bible man has never made a home. 
Here the words husband, wife, father, mother, son, daugh- 
ter, brother, sister, are encircled with imperishable glory. 
The family, as presented in the Bible, will never cease to 
be attractive, as the asylum of man, the sanctuary of 
woman, the nursery of the coming generation. The 
Bible contains the fundamental principles of civil gov- 
ernment, so delivered that under any form of monarchy 
or democracy they are fitted to produce a perfect State. 
If constitutions and statutes could be made in harmony 
with the teachings of this Book, every grievance might 
be redressed, order and tranquillity secured, and every 
man might sit with safety and peace under his own vine 
and fig-tree, none daring to molest or make afraid. The 
Bible seeks to regulate all the daily intercourse of man 
with his fellow, whether for friendship or business, in mat- 
ters of which the civil law takes no cognizance, by requir- 
ing truthfulness, honesty, justice, mercy, and charity, and 
all those other virtues which ennoble the possessor and 
are essential to the best interests of every association. 

The Bible is adapted to man's spiritual need. His 
deep conviction of duty, so constant and authoritative ; 
his sense of ill-desert, filling his mind at times with fore- 
bodings of evil ; his weary and often vain search for the 



THE WONDERFUL BOOK. 205 

way of peace ; his long struggle against inward and out- 
ward foes; his earnest desires after a supreme power in 
which he may repose, whose aid he may invoke ; his per- 
petual yearning for the sympathy of a great Heart, for a 
communion without which there must ever be an aching 
void ; liis painful consciousness of imperfection, disclosed 
to him more and more as he advances ; his unspeakable 
aspirations that cannot be satisfied with earth's treasures, 
howsoever they may be heaped together ; and his steady 
outreaching for another life where hope shall be ex- 
changed for fruition, these exercises and states exhibit 
man's spiritual necessities, all of which are met in the 
Scriptures, and there alone. The whole race may come 
and here find its wants supplied. 

The Bible is adapted to every age and condition ot 
human life. The young may read with ever increasing 
delight and profit its matchless biographies, especially 
those of Joseph and Samuel and Daniel, of Jesus and 
John and Timothy object-lessons these of "the good, 
the true, and the beautiful "; and into the memory of 
the forming mind may be cast those golden texts, the 
maxims of imperishable worth, which shall be germs of 
exalted character. They who are in middle life will find 
here precious words for every hour of joy or sorrow, for 
every duty or trial ; words " profitable for doctrine, for 
reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 
The aged, " when the keepers of the house shall tremble, 
and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grind- 
ers cease because they are few," may turn to these pages 
and forget their physical infirmities, while they meditate 
on truths that lift their souls to heaven. The ignorant, 
the learned, the poor, the rich, the bond, the free, the 
low, the high, will find in this volume the record of those 
whose lot was like theirs, and who showed how their sev- 
eral stations may be best filled, how adversity may be 



206 THE WONDERFUL BOOK. 

borne, how prosperity may be blessed, and " how all 
things may work together for good." This Book has a 
voice of warning for the sinner, a voice of invitation for 
the penitent, a voice of pity for the unfortunate, a voice 
of caution for the exalted, a voice of hope for the de- 
spondent, a voice of exultation for the dying. 

The adaptation of the Bible to human need increases 
with the flight of time. Other books grow old and re- 
quire revision, and are finally laid aside for others that 
contain fresher thought in recent dress. The text-books 
of the schools, used fifty years ago, have all been rejected. 
Histories of nations and of epochs, biographies of men, 
statements of doctrine must be rewritten at frequent in- 
tervals to meet the change in public opinion. How 
pompous and imperious is Modern Thought ! Who dares 
to resist its dictum must endure odium. Even the few 
classics, the products of master minds in a former age, 
are no longer printed as they were written. Expurgated 
copies alone are tolerated in our families. But the Bible, 
the oldest, is at the same time the newest of books. E"o 
one seeks to make it other than it was at the beginning, 
in the hope of improving it or readjusting it to the spirit 
of the times. The universal desire is to preserve the 
original and make all transcripts conform to that. This 
Book, begun thirty-three centuries ago and completed 
after fifteen centuries, occupies to-day in the esteem of 
mankind a larger place than at any previous time. And 
it holds that position, not because of the decrees of any 
church council, not because of any legislative enactments, 
not because of any penalties proclaimed against those who 
reject it, nor yet because its writers are believed to have 
been in pired, but because the men of the nineteenth cen- 
tury have discovered in it what they need. And, whatever 
may be said of its origin, it will never be surrendered, so 
long as its exalted ministry continues. 



THE WONDERFUL BOOK. 207 

And now for the u conclusion of the whole matter." 
Here is a very ancient volume, produced by many hands 
working without concert. In structure it is a masterpiece ; 
its parts, like some beautiful mosaic, are laid together as 
if according to a preconceived pattern. Its truths, varied 
and far-reaching, meet the needs of every soul in every 
land, under every circumstance of life. They are " seed 
to the sower and bread to the eater." He who feeds on 
this bread, exclaims with Israel's songster, " I have eaten 
my honey-comb with my honey." The centuries come 
and go ; times and seasons change ; institutions rise and 
fall; civilizations grow old and perish but this Book 
liveth and abideth forever. It leads humanity onward 
and upward, and at each stage of progress points to better 
things to come. It is, indeed, a lamp unto the feet and 
a light unto the path of the toiling millions who seek to 
know that which is highest and best. What shall we say 
concerning such a marvellous volume? Is it not the 
BOOK OF GOD? 



THE BEAKING OF PEOPHECY OK 
IJSTSPIKATION. 

ET. KEY. WM. K. NICHOLSON, D.D. 

MY theme is the Inspiration of the prophets. But I 
must limit my theme. For prophecy is a word of large 
meaning. The prophet had to declare God's will on 
whatever subject. As occasion required, and as the Lord 
directed, he laid down principles of religious belief and 
ethical obligation, he counselled, he rebuked, he comfort- 
ed, he exhorted, and he foretold future events. It is this 
last-mentioned one of his God-given f auctions, that the 
formula of my subject intends. The prophet, as predicting 
future events, is his sole identity as now he comes before 
us. 

In the utterance of their predictions, were the prophets 
supernaturally inspired 2 Was their inspiration not only 
Divine, but miraculously Divine ? Did they speak only 
from an immediate afflatus of God the Holy Ghost? 
"While it was they who spoke, were they yet but mouth- 
pieces of God, who was Himself speaking in and through 
them, infallibly, and for mankind's authoritative guidance ? 
Were their predictions such as that they were superhu- 
man, and were the words of their predictions, although 
being, at least in most instances, unrepressedly their own 
words, just such as God meant them to be ? These are 
our questions. 

But even our restricted theme, merely predictive proph- 
ecy, is so large a subject, the predictions being so numer- 
ous, the details so diversified, it would require no small 
(208) 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRA TION. 209 

volume to give a commensurate exhibit of its bearings on 
Inspiration. In the time allotted, I shall only be able, 
after stating the principles of the argument, to apply those 
principles to a few of the predictions. 

The argument is twofold. There are predictions ful- 
filled, and there are predictions unfulfilled. Each class 
has its place in the discussion. 

In the first place, as to prophecy fulfilled. 

Here, the general structure of the argument is simple, 
exceedingly. It is the following syllogism : 

Not man, but solely God, can foretell events and cir- 
cumstances of a distant future. 

But precisely this is what the Hebrew prophets have 
done. 

Therefore, the Hebrew prophets were not self-moved 
in their predictions, but God did move them. 

The major premise of this syllogism is self-luminous 
and irresistible. That no man can discern what events 
and circumstances distant years shall bring forth that 
God alone can do this is what all men instantly see to be 
absolutely true. The efforts of infidels to make it appear 
that the alleged predictions of the Bible were written after 
the events, are a concession that, if the Bible prophets did 
really foretell remote and improbable events, then were 
they supernaturally inspired of God. It is the minor pre- 
mise that we need to discuss. Did the prophets really 
predict hidden things of the future ? 

This brings us to the question, How shall it be ascer- 
tained whether or no the prophets did lay open ungu ess- 
able secrets of long years to come ? In other words, What 
are the criteria of a genuine prediction ? 

First, the alleged prediction must have been made 
Icnovm prior to the event. This is a principle self-evident. 
Only, it must be shown that the precedence of the predic- 
tion is an historical fact. In literature, fancy is sometimes 



210 BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 

put for history ; as when Spenser, in his Faery Queene, in 
order to give vivacity to his narrative, puts in the form of 
prediction descriptions of events in English history, and 
so takes occasion to make complimentary allusions to Queen 
Elizabeth. Let it be proved that the prophecy has gone 
before the event. 

Secondly, the event claimed to have been foretold must 
be such as is wholly remote from human view. If it is 
such an occurrence as is deducible from probability or ex- 
perience, the utterance beforehand might have been either 
a sagacious anticipation or a fortunate guess ; but it could 
be no expression of a supernatural influence. Seneca fore- 
told, that at some future time the mariner, urging his 
ship into unknown seas, would be the discoverer of new 
territories. This anticipation of Seneca's has been paraded 
as a prophecy of the discovery of America by Columbus. 
But the anticipation was uncircumstantial, and wholly in- 
definite. Neither America nor Columbus is identified. 
It was only a vivid picture of mere probability, suggested 
by ships and oceans and adventurous sailors. The Roman 
poet made another guess that was not so fortunate, that 
the people of Hindostan should occupy Armenia, and the 
region of the Rhine be colonized by Persians. Dr. Eras- 
mus Darwin, a poet of the eighteenth century, and also a 
man of science, wrote : 

"Soon shall thy arm, unconquer'd steam, afar 
Drag the slow barge, or drive the rapid car." 

But the subsequent realization of those triumphs of steam 
is not such an event as was at all remote from a scientific 
prevision. And Lord Bacon, in his description of the 
" House of Solomon," in the " New Atlantis," anticipated, 
with remarkable discernment, many of the prodigies of 
intellectual and social advancement that, since his time, 
have distinguished our civilization. He did but infer, 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 2H 

however, from his improved method of studying nature, 
what the world would be, when, as he said, his philosophy 
should have enlarged the bounds of human empire. 

Anticipations that spring out of a collection of the prob- 
abilities of present conditions are radically different from 
a foresight of things to which no sign in the present is 
pointing, and betwixt the foretelling and the occurring of 
which there may be the distance of many years, sometimes 
of even ages. The prescience of an experienced politician 
or statesman is of no deeper principle than is that of the 
skilful chess-player. Moreover, the anticipative calcula- 
tions of probability do about as often miss as hit the 
mark. The proverbial weather-prophet may be taken 
perhaps as an adequate type of all who would cast a horo- 
scope of even the near future. And, as regards a remote 
period, deductions from present causes cannot be carried 
so far forward, because new causes spring up that are as 
yet unknown. To foretell events that are far removed 
from human view far removed as well in probability as 
in time, this is what no human observation and skill can 
do ; but this is just what is essential to a genuine super- 
natural prediction. 

Thirdly, in the language of the prediction, there must 
1e no ambiguity. When Croesus consulted the oracle at 
Delphi about his intended war with the Persians, he was 
told that he should destroy a great empire. This he nat- 
urally interpreted of his overcoming, the Persians, al- 
though the language admitted of the meaning that the 
Persians should overcome him. In either case, his war 
should destroy a great empire. He made the war, and 
was ruined. A genuine prediction must not be ambigu- 
ous. More or less of obscurity, indeed, may attach to the 
exact meaning of a prophecy before its fulfilment, but it 
must not be susceptible of two interpretations. Its mean- 
ing, whatever that may be, must be definite. 



212 BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 

Fourthly, the genuine prophet must utter his predic- 
tion as being expressly from God. For if God reveal to 
one a certain item of foreknowledge for the very purpose 
of inspiring him to announce it, God would certainly 
mean to have it announced as coming from Himself; 
since, if not so announced, it could only be regarded as 
the man's own vague conjecture, and could have, there- 
fore, no weight with his contemporaries. Nor could a 
future generation regard the fulfilment of a prediction 
that had not been announced in the name of God, if per- 
chance it should be fulfilled, otherwise than as having hap- 
pened as a chance of one in many billions. Hence, we 
cannot conceive of a really inspired prophet as not pro- 
fessing to speak by the authority of the Omniscient. 

Fifthly, there must be at the proper time a clear and 
palpable fulfilment of the prediction. This principle 
completes the criteria of genuine prophecy. 

These five canons of prophetic identity, when concur- 
rent in application to a given utterance, furnish an abso- 
lute demonstration of the supernaturalism of that utter- 
ance. If the prediction preceded the event, if the event 
is such as was remote from human view, if the prediction 
was unambiguous, if it was uttered in the name of God, 
then the realization of it in the event is the crowning of 
it as a genuine prophecy, and the glory of that crown is 
God's miraculous inspiration of the prophet. 

We now proceed to apply these principles in a few in- 
stances of Bible prophecy. 

That the prophets did speak in the name of God, I 
need not waste time in showing. Just open the Bible, 
and he that runs may read. 

As regards the other four canons, we must test their 
applicability by an induction of particulars. 

First, let us take for the examination certain predictions 
concerning Nineveh, Babylon, Egypt, and the Four Em- 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRA TION. 213 

pires. The prophets in question are Nahum, Isaiah, Jere- 
miah, Zephaniah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. 

What are some of the things claiming to have been 
foretold of those cities and kingdoms ? 

That the great cities of Nineveh and Babylon should be 
captured. That each of the two cities should be taken 
when in a condition of revelry and intoxication. That 
the rivers on which the cities respectively stood (Nineveh 
on the Tigris, Babylon on the Euphrates) should be instru- 
mental in their being captured. That the two rivers 
should perform their parts in opposite ways the Tigris 
by an inundation, the Euphrates by drying up. That the 
cities should ultimately pass under an, exterminating deso- 
lation, and become receptacles of wild beasts (see the 
prophets Nahum, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zephaniah). 

That Egypt should become a base kingdom the basest 
of kingdoms. That God would so diminish it that it 
should no more rule over nations and never more have a 
prince of its own. That while Nineveh and Babylon 
should be depopulated, Egypt, still retaining its popula- 
tion, should be degraded and made helpless (Ezekiel xxix. 
13-15). 

That the Babylonian Empire, during whose time of 
splendor the prophet Daniel claims to have made his pre- 
dictions, should come to an end. That it should be suc- 
ceeded by the Medo-Persian, the latter by the Grecian, 
and this by the Roman. That, with the fourth the Ro- 
man the succession of universal empires should cease. 
That each of the Four Empires should have its leading 
characteristics, each one being differentiated in character 
from all the others. That not only the Babylonian, whose 
salient features were before the eyes of Daniel, was de- 
lineated as to the quality of its power and the constitu- 
tion of its government, but equally distinctively the other 
three, all the three as yet unborn, all unlike one another, 



214 BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 

though all should be universal empires ; the Roman, the 
last link of the Imperial succession, being described by the 
prophet as the most terrible of all, and the transcendent 
bruiser of the nations (Daniel ii. and vii.). 

You will have noticed in all these alleged predictions 
how distinct and definite they are. How utterly free from 
ambiguity. How impossible to give to any one of the 
statements two interpretations. Indeed, these alleged pre- 
dictions read like very history. 

Now, supposing for the moment that these alleged pre- 
dictions were published as long before the events as they 
claim to have been, and that the events have been realized 
as predicted, were the events themselves such as, in the 
nature of the case, are remote from human view \ Was 
it possible for mind of man to have foreseen them ? How 
circumstantial are the statements. How minutely der 
tailed. How vividly depicted. What contingencies of 
human action are involved. How different the destinies 
of the different peoples. How many unknown causes, 
causes variant one from another, yet strangely falling into 
their places, would have to arise in the future, when the 
prophets themselves who uttered the predictions had long 
passed away, to bring about exactly these events and cir- 
cumstances. IB human prevision equal to an achievement 
like this? The question is its own answer. What man, 
however gifted and experienced, could foresee, the fore- 
sight turning out to be true, that within 200 years from 
now the river Thames should inundate the city of London, 
and the Delaware River should dry up at Philadelphia, and 
that, in consequence, each of the two cities should be 
taken by an enemy ? Or, that the United States Govern- 
ment should come to an end, and be succeeded by a gov- 
ernment of another people, and this by a third people, and 
the third by a fourth people, either naming or character- 
istically describing each people, and then that the fourth 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 215 

in the succession should ultimately break up into a number 
of separate nationalities can it be conceived of any man 
that he should make this prophecy, the prophecy being at 
length fulfilled? The probabilities never existed, that 
could enable a man to forespeak a long and contingent 
future so positively, so circumstantially, so effectually. If 
the Hebrew prophets did speak before the events, and if 
the events were exact counterparts of their utterances, 
then were they supernaturally inspired of God. 

It is commonly objected by disbelievers, since it is the 
fate of empires to rise and fall, and their mutability and 
decay is a matter of experience, that, to shrewd observers 
of affairs, it was but a natural suggestion to anticipate their 
downfall. But you will have noticed that the predictions 
of the Hebrew prophets, a mere specimen of which I have 
given you, were not of so vague and indefinite a kind. 
Rather, they foretold how the cities and kingdoms should 
fall. Their prevision was minutely circumstantial, rich in 
details. Their forespeech was discriminating, contradis- 
tinctive, and even, as in Daniel's characterizations of the 
several empires, politically observant and profoundly an- 
alytical. If their predictions did indeed precede the 
events, and if the events were the realization of the pre- 
dictions, only God's prescience could have availed to their 
utterance. No human genius, no happy conjectures, no 
sagacious anticipations, could possibly write out before- 
hand the most surprising details of history. Did they 
make their predictions, then, prior to the events ? And 
have the events exactly answered to the predictions? 
The latter of these questions we attend to first. It is sim- 
ply notorious that these statements of the prophets have 
their precise counterparts in actual occurrences. For 
Nineveh and Babylon, we have the attestations of profane 
history, even the reproduction in its narratives of the mi- 
nute and distinctive circumstances declared by the proph- 



216 BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 

ets. As regards Egypt, we know it has been in a state of 
degradation for many centuries, and continues, to this day, 
to have no prince of its own. With respect to the Four 
Empires, all history assures us that the succession has been 
just as Daniel described it, that the salient features of each 
of the empires have corresponded to the letter of his de- 
scription, that the fourth in the succession has been the 
last of the universal empires, and that it has been suc- 
ceeded by a number of separate governments. I need not 
stop to quote from Diodorus Siculus and others, in attest- 
ation of what is so notorious, and is universally conceded. 
This brings us to the other question Did the prophets 
make these predictions prior to the events ? The disbe- 
liever says, No. His only refuge is to try to make it ap- 
pear that the predictions were published after the events. 
But what facts has he to found on ? Not one. It is 
purely a fabrication. He has done nothing to establish 
his position. He reasons in a circle. These are not real 
predictions, because they were written after the events ; 
they were written after the events, because they speak of 
the events. Thus, the denial of the predictions is made 
to rest on their being posterior to the events ; and their 
being posterior to the events is made to rest on the denial of 
the predictions. He further attempts to bolster his posi- 
tion by saying, that, admitting the prophets to have writ- 
ten at the dates claimed by them, yet these predictions 
were not in the original writings, but were interpolated 
by some forger or forgers after the events, as is indicated 
by the language and sentiments, associated with the pre- 
dictions, not being in the characteristic style of the 
prophet to whom they are ascribed. But how unsatisfac- 
tory is this kind of a contention is shown in the fruitless 
discussion, as to whether Lord Bacon is not the real author 
of the tragedies and comedies of Shakespeare. The result 
is simply intangible. Besides, in the case of* the Hebrew 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 217 

prophets, this is the absurdest possible criticism. "Who- 
ever adopts this theory must believe, not only that the 
forgers were men of the loftiest genius, since some of the 
passages pronounced spurious as for instance, certain chap- 
ters of the latter part of Isaiah are the very masterpieces 
of Hebrew literature ; but also that the Jews were phe- 
nomenally careless about their sacred books, even allowing 
them to be recklessly tampered with by literary adventur- 
ers. "We know how jealously all nations that have sacred 
books watch over their integrity, and we specially know 
with what reverence the Jews regarded their Scriptures. 
The almost superstitious dread with which they viewed 
the omission or alteration of a single jot or tittle in the 
writings their actual counting up of the words and let- 
ters the wearing of their phylacteries, slips of parchment 
on which were written words of their law all this renders 
absolutely incredible the forgery theory. JS T o such spuri- 
ous additions could conceivably have been palmed off upon 
such a people. 

On the other hand, positive testimony we have for the 
priority of the predictions to the events. The witness of 
Josephus, not only to the deep-felt sacredness of the Old 
Testament Scriptures and their unexceptionally recognized 
integrity in his day, but as well to the unbroken tradition 
on these points that had come down from the fathers ; the 
Septuagint translation of the Hebrew books into Greek, 
which took place along the interval from 280 years B.C. 
to 150 years B.C., which translation is itself evidence of a 
prior ancientness ; the reverential allusions of the apocry- 
phal books to those of the sacred canon ; the witness of 
successive books of the Bible to preceding ones from 
century to century ; the centering of the national unity, 
as far back as authoritative notices will take us, in the peo- 
ple's peculiar estimate of the law of Moses, and in their 
attachment to the sublime Messianic hopes taught by the 



218 BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 

prophets ; and above all, the public judgment and decision 
of the Jewish Church and people, as declared in their earli- 
est history ; all these facts, and others, unite to show that, 
for claimetl antiquity of the Hebrew books, and for their 
unmarred original contents, we have the sanction of centu- 
ries of unquestioned authority. And recurring, in connec- 
tion with these facts, to what we have already said of the 
reverence of the Jews for their Scriptures, we are obliged 
to feel that it is reasonably impossible to doubt either the 
dates severally claimed by the books, or their inviolate 
identity. 

Moreover, let us take Daniel as a test case. Let us ac- 
cept for a moment the latest date that disbelief has dared 
to assign to his prophecies. Say that he exercised his pro- 
phetic office as late as Antiochus Epiphanes that is, in 
the period of the third of the Four Empires, namely, the 
Grecian. Now, at that time, the Roman power had not 
made itself known beyond the confines of Italy. W hat hu- 
man sagacity could even then have conjectured the things 
that Daniel predicted concerning it? Who could have 
foreseen that the then comparatively insignificant com- 
munity on the banks of the Tiber was to become that 
great world-power, strong as iron, which should break in 
pieces and tread down the nations ? Who could have 
foreseen that, after attaining to the splendid summit of its 
greatness, it should be the last of the universal empires, 
and that in its decadence, it should branch out into a 
multitude of separate kingdoms 2 How was it that Daniel 
could so accurately fix the limit to that line of empires, 
and that he did not rather, in view of the already four- 
fold imperial succession, go on to anticipate further 
changes of the like kind ? Was not all that supernatural ? 
What, then, has disbelief gained by its violent endeavors 
to wrench the predictions out of their proper dates ? It 
cannot put Daniel's writings posterior to the rise of Rome. 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRA TION. 219 

Contrive as it may, it cannot get rid of the priority of cer- 
tain predictions to the event. Even granting to disbelief, 
for argument's sake, its whimsical demand as to the date 
of Daniel's prophecies, we are able to say to it, Thou hast 
slain thyself ! 

In these predictions of the prophets, then, concerning 
Nineveh, Babylon, Egypt, and the Four Empires, we do- 
find the supernatural inspiration of God. Their utter- 
ances were prior to the events. The events were remote 
from human view. Their utterances were not ambigu- 
ous. They did speak in the name of God. Their predic- 
tions were literally and minutely fulfilled. Therefore 
the subject-matter of their utterances was immediately 
from God, just as certainly as that Nineveh and Babylon 
have fallen, as that Egypt has been degraded, as that Rome 
became a universal conqueror. 

But not only the fact of their inspiration, the fullness 
of it also is clearly set forth. Their very words were 
divinely controlled. Not that they were merely as a pen 
in a writer's hand, or as a machine under the control of a 
machinist, but rather as a child learning to walk ; the child 
doing its own walking, meanwhile the mother's hand is 
upholding and guiding. The prophet's mind was actively 
at work, his own style of thinking and speaking was self- 
expressive ; but the hand of the Holy Ghost was guiding 
his mental individuality, and holding him up against 
stumbling. For, if Nahum had said of Nineveh, that it 
should be taken by means of a drying up of the Tigris ; or 
Isaiah had said of Babylon, that it should be taken by 
means of an inundation of the Euphrates, thus reversing 
the revelations given and certainly, if left to themselves 
in the work of expression, this might have been from what 
we know of infirmities of impression and lapses of mem- 
ory ; or if Ezekiel had said of Egypt, that it should be de- 
populated, and Isaiah had said of Babylon, that it should 



220 BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 

be simply degraded, thus again reversing the revelations ; 
or if Daniel, in depicting the several characters of the Four 
Empires, had got them mixed, and had given to Greece 
the character of Home ; why, then, in all these cases, the 
inaccuracies of the prophets would have emerged at the 
time of the events, and the credit of prophecy had been 
destroyed. The revelations God gave them were circum- 
stantial, distinctive, discriminative; wherefore the expres- 
sion of said revelations was meant to be equally circum- 
stantial, distinctive, discriminative. The mind of man, 
however, is liable to get confused, and words are but the 
outcome of the mind. Therefore that, in the predictions 
about those cities and kingdoms, there were, as we see from 
the events, no inaccurate words, is demonstration that, 
while not interfering with the natural play of the proph- 
et's mind, the Holy Ghost did have a care of the proph- 
et as actually writing ; whether that care was exerted in 
making the impression, at the instant of giving the reve- 
lation, so minute and vivid as to preclude the prophet's 
thoughts from wandering, or whether it was not exerted 
till the prophet had pen in hand. In either way the de- 
sired accuracy of expression might have been secured. 
And thus, while the words were the prophet's own, at the 
same time they were the words of the Holy Ghost ; the very 
words that were divinely meant, according to the prophet's 
peculiar mental structure, to be used. Nahum, and Isaiah, 
and Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and Zephaniah, and Daniel, 
each one, in the predictions we have been examining, did 
deliver his God-given message in language that came leap- 
ing out of his own intellect and sensibilities and tempera- 
ment, and yet, by the intelligent control of the Spirit, no 
word was said that should not have been said, no mistake 
was made in the statement of the Spirit's revelations. 

Look now at a second class of predictions some of 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 221 

those concerning the Jews. Are our canons of genuine 
prediction accomplished therein? 

What is it that the prophets say ? 

Moses said that they should be " scattered among all 
peoples, from the one end of the earth, even unto the 
other end of the earth " (Deut. xxviii. 64). That, never- 
theless, they should keep their Jewish identity and their 
separateness as a community in whatever age or clime 
(Lev. xxvi. 44). Amos said they should be u sifted among 
all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve" so thor- 
oughly scattered and mixed up with all peoples they 
should be ; that, nevertheless, " not the least grain should 
fall upon the earth " should be lost (ix. 9). So that, 
while the Jewish body politic should be swept from the 
face of the earth, and the Jewish people be hurled hither 
and thither all through the nations of the earth, yet they 
should always remain a distinct Jewish people. 

Now, are these statements at all ambiguous ? No ex- 
pressions could be plainer or more definite. 

Again, do these statements accurately represent the 
events of Jewish history? Look around you and you 
will see. Read the news from all parts of the world, con- 
sult the annals of the last 1,800 years, and you will learn. 
The Jew is everywhere, and has been so for centuries and 
centuries ; still a Jew he remains. He is not a body pol- 
itic, has no civic community of his own ; but not the ]ess 
he is a national unit. Unlike the gipsies, who have never 
had a recognized importance, and are not a factor either 
in society or in government, and neither the extent nor 
the duration of their dispersion nor their petty persecu- 
tions are to be brought into comparison, the Jew is not 
insignificant. He lives, not because the world has let him 
alone, but by virtue of a mysterious energy of perpetual 
rebound ; for his sufferings, only as half told, have been 
more than enough to exterminate any other people. Up- 



222 BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 

rooted from the fatherland, driven and lashed throughout 
the world, he has starved, he has writhed, he has burned, he 
has died by means of the most relentless persecutions that 
maddened power could invent. Exceptionally unfortunate 
as he has been, however, he has not stood on a dead level 
of misfortune, since, in spite of experiencing every con- 
ceivable calamity, he has elevated himself to the high 
places of the earth. If he has drank the bitterness of 
poverty, he has also feasted in affluence boundless. If he 
has been lined off and cooped up in quarantined wards of 
contempt, as though the plague had stricken him, he has 
lived also in the full communication of public inter- 
course. If he has painfully elbowed his way in the 
crowded marts of commerce, he has warbled the sweet- 
est melodies and created the sublimest music that ever 
entranced the listening world. If he has been set at 
naught as a proverb and a by-word, he has been amongst 
the foremost in literature, in learning, in theology the 
acknowledged peer of the greatest. If he has fled from 
country to country, as though he had been the football 
of nations, he has sat in the chair of the Minister of State, 
and has ruled the nations in which he is an exile. In 
short, he has actually exemplified just those adversities 
and those prosperities, just those relations and those habi- 
tudes of life, that do most effectually obliterate original dis- 
tinctions of lineage and country. Still he is a Jew. For 
now near two thousand years, present in all countries, hav- 
ing a home in none; intermixed everywhere, separate 
everywhere ; never amalgamated, never lost ; like the dis- 
tinctive current of his own Jordan in the upper part of 
the Dead Sea. Could correspondence be more perfect 
than between these events and the predictions of the 
prophets \ 

But, again, were those predictions prior to the events ? 
When, then, did the dispersion of the Jews take place I 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRA TION. 223 

They did have a country ; they were a body politic. 
When did they begin to be rooted up out of their land 
and be blown everywhere as upon the winds ? Tangibly, 
we put the finger on the date of the conquest of Jeru- 
salem by Titus. Were the books of Moses and other 
prophets prior to that date? Jesus Christ was prior 
thereto by nearly forty years, and those books were prior 
to Him. Nay, further back and up along the course of 
time till the period of the Maccabees, we know them to 
have existed ; and still upward we trace them till the Bab- 
ylonish captivity ; and even thence further and further, 
till the oldest of them we find lying in the tent of Moses, 
amid the wilderness, in the shade of the pillar of cloud by 
day and in the glory of the pillar of fire by night. The 
predictions prior to the events? Aye, by 1,500 years. 
But if we were only able to trace them back to a hun- 
dred, to fifty, to twenty-five, ~to ten years, before the over- 
throw of Jerusalem, it were priority enough for demon- 
strating the prescience of God in predictions of such 
events as these. 

For, again, are they not such events as were remote 
from human view? Self-evidently such, are they not? 
Six months before they began to occur nay, a single day 
would not that have been priority of prediction more 
than sufficient to have baffled the keenest sagacity ? For 
had there ever before been a history of any people like 
this history ? Has it ever been reduplicated ? When was 
such a dispersion known to mankind ? When such a pres- 
ervation ? What experience, then what probability, what 
cunning at guessing, even so late as when the walls of the 
sacred city were actually tumbling could have availed to 
foretell so transcendent phenomena? When Germans 
and others migrate to this country of ours, only a few 
generations are required for utterly blotting out their re- 
spective nationalities and merging them in our own ; like 



224: BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 

tributary waters unifying with the ocean and becoming 
lost in the rolling waves. Thus, what was predicted of 
the Jews is wholly opposed to experience. Their immor- 
tality as a landless nation is unique, prodigious. The con- 
centrated wisdom of the world could not have guessed it. 
Ages have seen them as we see them to-day ; and to-day, 
countryless, cosmopolitan, and, for all that, by themselves, 
Jewish, identical, resilient, vigorous, they are the miracle- 
people of mankind. Who could have foretold it one hour 
before it began to be ? Who could have foretold its con- 
tinuance even after it had begun to be ? And yet Moses 
foresaw it through the vista of fifteen centuries ; he, their 
own founder and legislator; he, while on his triumphal 
march to lay the foundations of their kingdom in Canaan, 
and when the natural enthusiasm of the occasion would 
have shut out any croakings of pessimism. What, then, have 
we in these predictions of the prophets ? Scarce anything 
in a man's life, that it is necessary for him to know or be- 
lieve, transcends in certainty the answer to this question. 
It is next, in evident truth, to one's consciousness of his 
own existence. It is SUPERNATUKALISM. God's presci- 
ence alone could have supplied the prophets with a pre- 
vision so superhuman. 

But precisely as was the revelation, so they uttered 
themselves. How accurately, and to a pin's point, they 
reproduced in writing what God had given them, is seen 
in the correspondence of the events. While Nahuni said 
that Nineveh should be destroyed, Isaiah and Jeremiah 
that Babylon should be destroyed, and Ezekiel that Egypt 
should become a base kingdom, not so did the prophets 
say of the Jews. Of that people, as well as of Babylon, 
prophesied Isaiah and Jeremiah ; but, as attested by the 
events, they never got things mixed. This fact, viewed 
alongside of the tendencies of men to make mistakes, as- 
sures us that the Holy Spirit, somehow, no matter how, 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 225 

did see to it, that, while not interfering with the idiosyn- 
crasy of the writer, there yet should be no word of mis- 
statement. God's inspiration of the holy men of old was 
as well a protection against error in writing, as a prompt- 
ing to write at all. 

Once more as to prophecy fulfilled. Consider certain 
predictions relative to Jesus Christ. What are they 3 

That a certain illustrious Personage should come, whom 
the prophets referred to as the Messiah : the promised and 
commissioned one from God who should be the Bringer 
of salvation from sin, and of light and glory, to men. 
That He should be born of a virgin mother. That He 
should be born at Bethlehem. That He should appear 
while the Second Temple would be standing, and within a 
stated number of years. That He should be of the tribe 
of Judah, and of the family of David. That He should 
be an exceptionally pure and holy servant of God. That 
He should be a marvellous teacher ; having the spirit of 
wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and 
might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the 
Lord ; knowing how to speak a word in season to him 
that is weary, preaching good tidings, binding up the 
broken-hearted ; teaching as one having authority, teach- 
ing as the infallible guide of men. That He should be a 
friend of the wretched. That He should give eyes to the 
blind, ears to the deaf, a tongue to the dumb, feet to the 
lame. That He should be meek, and gentle, and tender, 
and loving. That He should be a rebuker of sin, incor- 
ruptible, the supreme champion of righteousness. That 
He should claim to be God. That He should have a fol- 
lowing from among the poor and lowly. That He should 
not be an attractive object to the world. That He should 
have many enemies, who would hate and persecute Him. 
That He should be a great sufferer. That His visage 



226 BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 

should be marred, being a man of sorrows, and acquainted 
with grief. That He should be betrayed by one in whom 
He had trusted. That He should be sold for thirty pieces 
of silver. That the thirty pieces of silver should be paid 
to a potter. That He should give His back to be scourged, 
and His cheek to be smitten. That He should be spit 
upon. That He should be silent and submissive, like a 
cheep before its shearers. That He should be pierced in 
His hands and feet. That He should be put to death. 
That not a bone of Him should be broken. That His en- 
emies would taunt Him in the midst of His sufferings 
with words of reproach and derision. That in His thirst 
they would give Him vinegar to drink. That His cloth- 
ing should be divided into parts and be distributed, except 
that for His coat or tunic they would cast lots. That, in 
addition to His physical sufferings, His agony of soul 
should be intense, being wounded even of God, wounded 
for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities. That 
He should cry out, " My God, my God, why hast Thou 
forsaken me ? " That, therefore, He should forgive sins, 
and justify many. That He should die as a malefactor, 
but should have His grave with the rich. That He should 
rise from the dead, and should ascend to heaven. 

Such as these are the predictive statements pervading the 
Old Testament Scriptures. Are they free from ambiguity ? 
This idea of the Messiah was an established monopoly of 
interests. It was not shadowy, but luminous ; not dimin- 
utive, but mountainous. It was underneath and over and 
all through the whole grand structure of the teachings of 
the prophets. They allowed no two interpretations of their 
announcement of the coming of Messiah. And then what 
variety and multiplicity of particulars. How definite, and 
minute, and all-embracing. A long chain of tangible 
links. And then the character they delineated its purity 
and holiness, its wonders of deed and speech, its adorable 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON .INSPIRATION. 227 

wisdom, its authority, its incarnation of love and sweet- 
ness, its condemnation of sin, its graciousness to the sinner, 
its claim of being God, its meekness in suffering, its confi- 
dence in the Father, its conquest of death and the grave, 
its triumphal ascension to heaven what unmistakable ele- 
ments of power, and beauty, and excellence, and majesty. , 
Oh ! here, if anywhere in the world's literature, are lim- 
pid thought and transparent definiteness of meaning. 

And was Jesus Christ the actual correspondence to 
these statements of the prophets ? Let the world answer. 
Let the infidels attest, who, despite of their want of sym- 
pathy with Him, are yet fascinated by Him, as the moth 
by the candle. Let the admiration and the reverence of 
eighteen centuries bear witness. Let the advancement of 
the Christian peoples, even though but partially Christian- 
ized, decide ; their freedom from debasing ignorance and 
superstition, their high sense of the principles of morality, 
their monumental benevolences. Whence have come such 
blessings to them, and not to the non-Christian peoples ? 
And there stand the Gospels. There stand the Apostolic 
Epistles. There stands the Christian Church. There 
stand the folios and the octavos, breathing the testimonies, 
and thrilling with the faith, of Christian fathers, and 
Christian thinkers, and Christian workers, and Christian 
heroes, and Christian martyrs, all whose memories have 
suffused with their fragrance the circling ages. It is his- 
tory that declares, with a thousand voices, the fulfilment 
of the prophets in Jesus the Christ. Meanwhile, our own 
consciousness, turning to that supernatural character as 
needle to the pole, becomes experimentally assured, since 
thereby we steer clear of both Scylla and Charybdis, the 
rock of agrosticism and all intellectual unrest, and the 
whirlpool of secularism and all unspirituality. 

Were these statements of the prophets, then, prior to 
Jesus Christ? We need not stop to prove it again. The 



228 BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INS P IRA TION. 

question is its own answer. Do two and two make four? 
Daniel, Zechariah, Malachi, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Mieah, Mo- 
ses, and all of them, were household words in the Jewish 
nation, when Jesus loomed up to view, and drew to Him- 
self the confidence of the humble, and the hate of the 
proud. 

But were the things thus foretold remote from human 
view ? Why, some of them were seemingly almost con- 
tradictory. That Messiah should die as a malefactor, and 
yet that He should have His grave with the rich ; that not 
a bone of Him should be broken, and yet that He should 
be pierced in His hands and feet, just where the bones are 
so numerous ; that He should be pierced in hands and 
feet, while yet it was a mode of punishment unknown to 
the prophets, and involved that the Jewish people should 
have become subjected to the Romans, a nation not heard 
of when the prediction was written ; that He should be, 
as well as pure, of a benevolence so loving, of a benefi- 
cence so active and effective, and yet be so hated, and be 
murdered ; that He should be God, and yet be put to 
death by men such a series of the seeming conflict of 
facts no sane mind could have anticipated. 

And some of the things were contingent on human 
caprice; on incalculable impulses of men living in the 
distant future. That Messiah should be born in Bethle- 
hem, while yet, as matter of fact, His mother was residing 
in Galilee, the prediction being fulfilled only by reason of 
an imperial whim of Rome ; that His clothing should be 
cut up and distributed, while yet one of the garments 
should be exccpted from that process ; that He should be 
put to death as well as be scourged, although, as a matter 
of fact, the scourging was inflicted by Pilate in order to 
forestall the violent savagery of His death ; could such 
freaks of men's wills have come within the mental range of 
the far-distant prophets ? 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRA TION. 229 

And all the circumstances were of a kind utterly un- 
guessable. Yery especially so, the Virgin Motherhood, 
the measured number of years, the just thirty pieces of 
silver. A foresight of details like these was indisputably 
miraculous. 

But, leaving the circumstances, what shall we say of the 
Messianic conception itself ? True, the foremost man of 
Greece felt the need, and longed for the coming, of some 
Great Unknown, exclaiming, "Oh, when shall that time 
come ? How greatly do I desire to see that man who he 
is." But Plato had no means of identifying the Great 
Unknown. It was only a vague, indeterminate yearning 
for some adequate personage to intervene between man- 
kind and their wretchedness. Whence, then, were the 
Hebrew prophets enabled to describe so circumstantially, 
and both mentally and morally, the Great Coming One ? 
How was it that, as accomplished limners, they drew His 
portrait, sent it down the ages, and astonished the later 
world, when the Original had appeared, by the perfection 
of the likeness? Messiah's personal character, how did 
they divine it ? The sages of mankind had never thought 
within sight of such goodness and greatness. Their utter- 
most imaginings had never hinted at anything so peerless- 
ly exceptional, so supremely enravishing. And Messiah's 
official character, where did they get their ideas of it ? 
By what means were they able to delineate Him as the 
embodiment of the spontaneous mercy to men, of the just, 
sin-hating God? How did they conceive of His suffer- 
ings at the hand of the Almighty Father, of His conse- 
quent redeeming death, His power to forgive sins, His be- 
ing mighty to save \ How transcendent their flight of 
sublimity in Messiah's resurrection : a celestial conception, 
the blaze of whose glory no Icarus of human genius did 
ever gaze on ; the waxen wings of genius invariably melt- 
ing before attaining that heaven of thought. This rounded 



230 BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 

immensity of Messiah's character, personal and official, 
how did they get at it ? With what eyes of flame did 
they see into the darkness of coming time, and forewrite 
the veritable history of Jesus the Christ ? 

On the whole, remote to the prophets, exceedingly re- 
mote, remote in time, remote in probability, were the Mes- 
sianic events ! No calculus of human thought could pierce 
so far. It is supernaturalism, therefore, that we have in 
their prophecies ; supernaturalism burning and shining 
throughout. 

Yea, throughout their words as well. For how else 
could they have threaded their ways of speech so narrowly 
amid particulars so many, so minute, so seemingly almost 
contradictory, so contingent on unaccountable impulses of 
men centuries off, so sublime, so far above the farthest 
possible flight of human conception ? A single misty im- 
pression, one lapse of memory, a moment's effervescence 
of feeling, might easily have dropped into an erroneous 
expression, thus falsifying the record and damaging the 
evidences of the Christ. No, the prophets wrote just 
what the Holy Ghost had taught them ; for also He stood 
guard over them, and their pens, although moving at their 
own wills, made no false entries. 

And now as regards our second division of the subject 
Prophecy unfulfilled. Do those predictions of the Bi- 
ble that are as yet unaccomplished exemplify Inspiration ? 
I say, Yes. But the argument to prove it is different 
in kind from that we have been pursuing. An alleged 
prediction, professedly not fulfilled, cannot of course be 
brought as yet to the final test of fulfilment. But the 
test of fulfilment is the consummate point of our five can- 
ons of genuine prediction. Those canons, accordingly, we 
now lay aside, and shall seek to supply their place with 
another principle of reasoning. 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION, 231 

"We turn our attention to the class of prophecies relating 
to the kingdom of the Christ ; of which a large propor- 
tion is unfulfilled. They are to be found in the writings 
as well of the New Testament as of the Old. The princi- 
ple of the argument is this the phenomenal unity of the 
prophets in their teachings concerning the kingdom. 

In so long a succession of prophets from Moses to John 
inclusive they have all taught in unison. And yet their 
predictions were written, from time to time, throughout a 
period of fifteen hundred years. The writers, too, were men 
of different habitudes of mind, different temperaments, dif- 
ferent surroundings, and belonging to widely separated 
ages of the world. Such being the circumstances, it is in- 
credible that, on a subject hidden in the future, of vast 
proportions and superhuman grandeur, they could have 
prophesied in harmony, except they had been under an 
all-superintending influence from God. If on this subject 
they did speak in harmony, if what each prophet said fitted 
to its place in one grand scheme, if all the contributions of 
thought, from end to end of the fifteen hundred years, had 
only the effect to make the plan grow without contraven- 
ing it, then, beyond a peradventure, they were spokesmen 
of God ; they spake as they were moved by the Holy 
Ghost. This is the principle of our reasoning ; and now 
for the verification of it. 

What, then, is a bird's-eye view of the predictions 
themselves ? 

First, Moses' description of God's covenant with Abra- 
ham. The land in which the patriarch was sojourning 
was pledged both to himself and to his seed, as an inher- 
itance forever. From amongst his seed or posterity there 
should come forth kinghood, as well as the subjects of 
kinghood. And the blessedness of all the nations of the 
earth was 'identified with him. These promises were the 
laying of foundations ; the beginnings of a kingdom, a 



232 BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 

glorious kingdom. Territory, kinghood, subjects all 
were provided for. The kinghood should be realized only 
within the posterity of Abraham. So also as to the sub- 
jects of the kingdom ; since the territory of the kingdom 
should be occupied by his posterity alone. And yet all 
nations of the earth should be beneficiaries of the kingdom 
even to the extent of finding their very blessedness in 
their connection with Abraham. Such was the plan of 
the kingdom as revealed in the Abrahamic covenant. But 
Moses did himself expressly connect this covenant with 
a Great Promised One a Prophet like himself, whom 
the Lord should raise up, and whose authority should be 
supreme : thus identifying the Abrahamic kinghood, at 
least in its ultimate form, with that Coming One. 

Secondly, Moses' description of the institution of the 
Theocracy at Sinai. Jehovah dwelt in His royal resi- 
dence, the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle. He was civil 
ruler, as web! as the object of worship. And the High- 
Priest of Israel was His minister of state. Now, the ter- 
ritory over which the Theocracy was set up was identi- 
cally the same as what had been covenanted to Abraham ; 
and identically the same were the subjects of the Theoc- 
racy. It was, accordingly, an outgrowth of that covenant, 
and was, therefore, the Abrahamic kingdom showing itself 
as an earnest. And thus in the Shechinah Glory of the 
Holy of Holies, it was symbolically shown that the ulti- 
mate promised kinghood of the Abrahamic covenant 
should be a Divine Kinghood ; that the King, the Great 
Coming One of Moses, should be God, although being of 
the seed of Abraham, and ruling in person on earth. 

Thirdly, Moses' prediction of the temporary overthrow 
of the Theocracy for the wickedness of the nation, and of 
its eventual restoration : which restoration should be the 
Kingdom in its consummate and final form. 

So far, the great plan of the Kingdom as given by Mo- 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRA TION. 233 

ses. Its salient features were these : an earthly land the 
posterity of Abraham its subjects all peoples of the earth 
brought within its blessed power a King, at once a de- 
scendant of Abraham and God reigning in person a true 
Theocracy, therefore the overthrow of the Theocratic 
Kingdom as established at Sinai its glorious re-establish-' 
inent. 

Now, see how this plan developed in the long ages fol- 
lowing. 

First, as recorded by Samuel, the prophet Nathan's ac- 
count, 400 years after Moses, of God's covenant with Da- 
vid. The Theocracy was incorporated with the line of 
David. The Theocratic Kingdom was established in the 
person of David, as progenitor and type of Him, of whom 
this covenant said, " He shall be the Son of God," and of 
whom, instantly afterward, David said, " The Adam from 
above, God Jehovah." In Him, David's descendant and 
royal heir, the Theocratic Kingdom should be established 
forever. Thus, God's Kingdom on earth should coincide 
with David's Kingdom, transmitted to, and magnified in, 
David's greater Son. This was additional information, 
but in nothing was the Davidic covenant out of harmony 
with what went before. David and, through him, the 
Adam from above, were both of the children of Abraham. 
Still the same territory and the same subjects, the same 
promised One, the same final consummation. Only, the 
Theocracy was now plainly expressed in words, and, in 
wedlock Divine, was married forever to the lineage of 
David. 

Secondly, Isaiah's prediction, near 300 years after Na- 
than's time, that He, who should be Yirgin-born, and 
whose name should be Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty 
God, the Father of eternity, the Prince of peace, should 
take the government, and exercise it upon the 'throne of 
David, to order it, and to establish it, with judgment and 



234: BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 

justice, from henceforth, even forever ; and that of the 
increase of his government and prosperity there should be 
no end. So, though hundreds of years have passed, the 
same great plan ; but with increasing clearness. How 
much more fully and strongly the Theocracy is stated. 
And what an illumination is thrown back, through 700 
years, on that Abrahamic blessedness of all nations of the 
earth predicted by Moses ; for, according to Isaiah, that 
universal blessedness should be brought about by the en- 
largement of the Theocracy, and its universal extension 
over the nations. 

Thirdly, a succession of many prophets, whom we can- 
not stop to specify, living at different times, all repeating 
one or another of thjese same features of the great plan, 
some giving further development to one or another of 
them, some dwelling on the disastrous condition of the 
Jewish people, the result of the temporary overthrow of 
the Theocratic kingdom, some exulting in the final reha- 
bilitation of the Theocracy in the revived kingdom of 
David. 

Fourthly, Luke's record of the angel's substantial reci- 
tation to the Virgin Mother of Isaiah's prediction : where- 
in the prophet-evangelist gave evidence, that Isaiah's con- 
ceptions of the Theocratic kingdom in the line of David, 
which were at one with the Abrahamic covenant described 
by Moses 700 years before Isaiah's time, were still, now 
700 years after his time, definite and vivid in the mind of 
the nation. 

Fifthly, Jesus himself, the veritable Son of David, son 
of Abraham, in the earlier part of His ministry, making 
the offer of the kingdom to the Jews, saying, " The king- 
dom of heaven is at hand," and, " The kingdom of God is 
come nigh to you." Whereas, in the later months of His 
ministry, because of His rejection by the nation, and as 
soon as the representatives of the nation, in council assem- 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 235 

bled, had conspired to put Him to death, expressly with- 
drawing the offer, and postponing the kingdom to a future 
period ; as, for instance, when, u because they thought that 
the kingdom of God should immediately appear," He 
spoke the parable of a certain nobleman going into a far 
country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return, 
and who, having received the kingdom, did return. 
Wherein, the revival of the Theocracy was fixed for the 
time of his Second Advent. Meanwhile, by reason of this 
postponement, the predictions of the prophets concerning 
the disasters of the Jews had their opportunity of fulfil- 
ment. How perfectly the great plan is preserved, and 
yet how it lengthens and widens under this increase of 
light. 

Sixthly, Paul predicting that all Israel should be saved, 
and rehearsing the old promise that Abraham should be 
the heir of the world (Rom. iv. 13 ; xi. 26). Also an- 
nouncing the Gospel principle of the grafting of Gentile 
believers into the Jewish olive-tree, and of their adoption 
as children of Abraham (Rom. xi. 17 ; Gal. iii. 29). And 
so, in the long development of the plan, was at length ex- 
plained how it could be, that, while the kingdom is Abra- 
hamic, and is exclusively appropriated to the children of 
Abraham, all the nations of the earth should conie to be 
equal sharers in the same kingdom. The whole evangel- 
ized world, by means of faith in Christ, should become 
incorporated with the family of Abraham. 

Seventhly, John's prophecy of " the Lion of the tribe 
of Judah, the Root of David"; of "the New Jerusalem J> ; 
of " the tabernacle of God with men." The same plan to 
the very end. And now it stands complete. The Christ, 
at length the Lion conqueror for Abraham's people. 
The Root of the Davidic covenant having caused that 
covenant to grow, till, in the end, it shall have blossomed 
into David's own Messianic ideal, " The Just One ruling 



236 BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 

over men, arising upon the world as the light of the morn- 
ing, of a morning without clouds." The New Jerusalem 
coming down from God out of heaven a bride adorned 
for her Davidic husband. The tabernacle of God with 
men : God in personal residence on the earth, the Theoc- 
racy re-established, all tears wiped away, no more death, 
neither sorrow nor crying, no more pain ; and when, in 
the words of Jesus, the Father's will shall be done on 
earth, as it is done in heaven. 

Such is a meagre outline of the unity of the prophets 
in their teachings of the kingdom. A large proportion 
of their predictions are as yet unfulfilled. The govern- 
ment from the throne of David is not now being exer- 
cised. The Theocracy is not in existence. The universal 
religious prosperity, spoken of by the prophets, has not 
come to pass. Infidels have seen that these things are 
connected with the prophetic kingdom most expressly, 
most positively, most inseparably, and have taken occa- 
sion, because of their not being fulfilled, to deny the truth 
of all prophecy. But they have confounded the publica- 
tion of Christianity with the kingdom ; neglecting the 
fact that Jesus himself has expressly postponed the king- 
dom. The Church is not the kingdom. But do not these 
unfulfilled predictions vindicate their own truth ? Is not 
their eventual accomplishment already casting its shadow 
before ? 

For what sort of a fact is this unity of the prophetic 
teachings ? Was there ever anything like it ? Fancy the 
wise men of Greece, all along the successive centuries of 
its history, writing on one and the same subject, thinking 
the same thoughts of it, maintaining and developing the 
same plan of it. Fancy them, whether they be a Solon, 
a Socrates, an Aristotle, poets, orators, tillers of the soil, 
herdsmen whether they write from among the cultured 
newsmongers of Athens, or from lonely dell or mountain 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 237 

whether in adverse or in prosperous circumstances, in 
the early dewy morning of their national life, or when the 
lassitude of the nation's evening is settling upon them, 
fancy them as joining voices across the ages, and encircling 
their country's history with a chorus of sweetness and 
sublimity. Would not that be a phenomenon, at which 
the philosophers would bow down and worship? And 
yet, just this is what has been done by the Hebrew proph- 
ets. How shall it be accounted for ? In view of the dif- 
ferences of minds, and of the different influences of suc- 
cessive times, how was it that one dominant plan, one 
dominant hope, ran throughout 1,500 years? that the 
Abrahamic covenant was the one golden thread on which 
the prophets, from Moses to John, strung their pearls? 
that each one brought his contribution to the ever-growing 
architecture of so long a period, and fitted it to its place, 
as beveled edge is mortised into its socket? 

See yonder gorgeous palace. What a multitude of 
workmen have been connected with it from first to last. 
The diggers with their mattocks ; then they that carry the 
hod, and they that lay the stone ; next, the carpenters, 
with plane and saw ; and last, the painters, the carvers, 
the upholsterers. Through several years the building has 
continued to grow, till now, from foundation to pinnacle, 
it stands before us in finished beauty and grandeur. How 
was it that there was no confusion among the workmen ? 
How came it that each stone lay in its proper place, and 
each timber filled the space waiting for it? that each 
stroke of the decorator's art is just where it should be ? 
How could so many ever-changing hands have combined 
to create a work, whose effect upon us, as a whole, is as 
though it were a piece of music in wood and stone? 
Only because all the operations, from beginning to end, 
have been under the control of one master Mind. 

Look now at this plan of the kingdom. What relays of 



238 BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 

prophets. What various tasks. What changes of epochs 
and surroundings. Through fifty generations they wrought, 
and they died. On and up the vast structure grew. Each 
thought of each writer was built into one grand scheme. 
And now it stands in the pages of John a perfected whole 
a vision of the glory of God. How was it that fifty gen- 
erations of writers so wrought in unison ? Only because 
they were all presided over by one master Mind God the 
Holy Ghost. Yea, " the goodly fellowship of the prophets 
praise Thee, O God " ! They all spake as they were moved 
by the Holy Ghost. 

Aye, spake as well as thought. If any workman on 
yonder palace had not actually placed the stone and the 
timber just where the architect had planned for it to go, 
what derangement would have supervened, notwithstand- 
ing the architect had given his instructions. Hence the 
appointment of a master-workman to watch and make 
sure. Now the using of words was the prophet's actual 
placing of the instructions of the Spirit. If His words 
had been wrong, the instructions had been wrongly 
placed, and the plan had been damaged. Hence the 
Spirit's supervision of his words. The workman, how- 
ever, although watched and guarded, exerted his own 
strength in placing the stone ; and the prophet, although 
secured against error in his words, did yet use his own 
words in writing out the thoughts of the Spirit. If, there- 
fore, the inspiration of the Spirit, like an aureole, encircled 
his speech, yet within that circle of light were the sparkles 
of his own individuality. 

I have done. We have but glanced at our subject. 
But could I have arrayed before you the whole mighty 
mass of the argument from prophecy, it would have been 
only one of the many lines of proof of the full inspiration 
of the Bible. What greater assurance could we desire ? 



BEARING OF PROPHECY ON INSPIRATION. 239 

When, therefore, the Bible tells me, that man was not 
evolved from the brute, but directly created of God, I be- 
lieve it ; for thus saith the Lord. When it tells me, that 
I can know God's will concerning me, and that Agnosti- 
cism is false, I believe it ; for thus saith the Lord. When 
it tells me, that I am a sinner and helpless ; that God will 
fearfully punish sin, yet that He loves me and would save 
me ; that Christ hath redeemed me from the curse of the 
law, being made a curse for me; that whosoever trusts 
in Christ hath everlasting life; all of it I believe, for 
thus saith the Lord. And when, on whatever subject, it 
teaches ine God's thoughts, that I may have the honor 
and the felicity of thinking with God ; when, especially, 
it opens up to my view enchanting visions of goodness and 
glory in the kingdom of the Christ; all its teachings, 
most reverently, most thankfully, I welcome to my heart 
of hearts. For the Book is itself God's own voice out of 
the heavens ; and " just as the thunder of heaven is even- 
toned, and is always like itself in awful grandeur, and is 
unlike other sounds of earth," so God's voice in the Scrip- 
tures is always majestic and commanding, always true and 
trustworthy, always unlike the babbling voices of men. 

" Each word of Thine a gem 

From the celestial mines, 
A sunbeam from that holy heaven 

Where holy sunlight shines. 
A thousand hammers keen, 

With fiery force and strain, 
Brought down on it in rage and hate, 

Have struck this gem in vain. 
It standeth and will stand, 

Without or change or age, 
The word of majesty and light, 

The cliurch's heritage." 



JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS AND EXAM- 
PLE OF INSPIRATION. 

HOWARD OSGOOD. 

HISTORICAL investigation is founded on monuments and 
documents. The monuments of Jesus Christ are, pri- 
marily, His people in all the ages; they are His wit- 
nesses, they are the cities set on hills. The documents 
of Jesus are, primarily, the gospels and the other writings 
of the New Testament. And according to the strictest 
law of historical criticism, the ultimate decision as to the 
character and import of documents rests, not upon the 
fine mold of mere criticism of words, not upon rightful 
conception of historical relations, however useful these 
may be, but upon the firm bed-rock of the character of the 
witness testifying in the documents. This character, if 
honest, intelligent, thoroughly informed, disinterested, 
faithful, finds its echo in man, who can recognize and be 
attracted by noble character, however far from it he may 
know himself to be. 

In all ages there has risen before men, as they have 
read and reread the gospels, the character of Jesus. This 
character is not found more in one part than in another 
of the gospels. But as the vapor, with healing on its 
wings, rises from every part of the ocean and forms the 
clouds, bringing life and refreshing to the earth and man, 
so, from the words, the acts, the incidents of daily life, 
all the minutiae of artless narrative, as well as from the 
doctrines taught, from the doctrine of simplicity and love, 
illustrated by the infant taken in His arms, to the doctrine 
of infinite, eternal power and Godhood, from each and 
(240) 



JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 241 

every part of the gospels there arises a character, stamped 
with the traits of honesty and intelligence, of high prin- 
ciple and goodness, of fortitude and love. 

This character, which is the effulgence of the gospels, 
and the impress of their substance, is not the result of the 
cunning art of a tax-gatherer, two fishermen, and a phy- 
sician. The evangelists frequently remind us that they 
did not understand this character. They were slow to 
appreciate it. They simply tell in unadorned language 
what they saw and heard, or learned by testimonies they 
could not doubt. They stand as far below this character 
revealed in their writings, as when, "over against Beth- 
any," " while He blessed them, He parted from them, 
and was carried up into heaven," they stood "looking 
steadfastly into heaven as He went." The evangelists 
show every mark of the spirit of their age ; but only the 
extreme school, who deny th6 supernatural, deny to Je- 
sus what every one else sees in Him, absolute freedom 
from the spirit of His age. This character was not, as it 
could not be, the art of men whom their contemporaries 
styled "unlearned and ignorant," nor could it be the 
device of fraud or enthusiasm. Under the supreme law 
of historic criticism, as well as according to the conscious- 
ness of men in every age, under every clime, of every 
color, this character becomes, as it ever has been and will 
be, the highest proof and plainest seal of the gospels that 
reveal it. 

This character is marked in all its lineaments with 
honesty, that is, with " fairness and straightforwardness 
of thought, speech, act, purpose." However men have 
interpreted His acts or words, and differed from them, 
the centuries have been free from the accusation of insin- 
cerity or unfairness or dishonesty in Jesus. He was sin- 
cere in His convictions, and proved His sincerity against 
the appeals of friends, and the last resort of foes. This 



24:2 JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 

honesty shone out in the native, imperturbable dignity of 
His bearing ; it was both a principle and a habit. And 
1,800 years of criticism have failed to find the flaw which 
proved that at any moment He was derelict to the prin- 
ciples of the purest, loftiest morality. But there seems 
to be, on the part of a few, at the present day, a tendency 
to deny to Jesus the highest powers of mind. He is said 
to be of uncompromising honesty, our Master in the prac- 
tical religious life ; but as to the evidences in Jesus of 
those powers of mind which deal with the highest forms 
of knowledge that is, what we style intellect, as distin- 
guished from intelligence and understanding we are told 
that the learning of this day has shown that He did not 
possess them. Let us consider this denial for a moment. 
What is the highest realm of mind ? Is it not that where 
the mind grasps and deals with ultimate principles of the 
material world, or of the world of intellect, affections, 
will ? If we find a writer that has made even one ulti- 
mate principle his theme, and upon that theme has given 
to the world some advance of sound thought, we praise 
him as a master among men. Look back over the history 
of man : how few have been the men who have advanced 
the thought of the world on any single great principle, 
and how slight has been the advance made by any single 
mind. But grant that many minds may think freshly 
and truly upon ultimate principles, and that the conscious 
purpose of this thinking is the highest known, the glory 
of God and the benefit of man, what is the final com- 
plex, the concrete result of such thinking, on which man 
has set his seal as the utmost reach of human powers ? Is 
it not the embodiment of the simplest, ultimate principles 
in the noblest characters? Shakespeare remains one of 
the few master-minds of all the centuries. Plato's think- 
ing, in most concrete form, is embodied in his conception 
of the character to which he has giveu the name of Soc- 



JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 243 

rates. Yet in these, and the few other world-masters of 
thought, we look in vain for the drawing of a perfect 
character. Was it the defect of their thought, or the in- 
congruity of putting a perfect character into a world so 
full of all that is contrary to it, that has resulted in the 
imperfections of their creations? There is no evidence 
that Plato or Shakespeare ever imagined a perfect charac- 
ter. And the difficulty of making a perfect character at 
home in the world, was clearly perceived by hoth. 

This overmastering reach of mind is patent in Jesus 
Christ. That perfect character, which is the last analysis 
and synthesis of the gospels, to which the writers give 
their testimony, but in which they had no part ; that 
character, simple, pellucid, without a flaw, itself the home 
and exhibition of every ultimate principle, recognizable by 
the human mind that character, in its principles, its 
acts, its purposes, was " the clear conception, the perma- 
nent realized ideal of Jesus, and of Him only." That 
character was wholly unknown to the world before, and, 
hence, like every advance of thought which condemns 
the hoary inherited errors of the present, the mistakes 
and misconceptions and fond ideals of friends or foes, it 
was misunderstood and doubted by His dearest friends, 
and by His foes it was gibbeted on Calvary for the scorn 
of the world. 

Granted the possibility of the conception of a perfect 
character, an ideal never lost, there is still a difficulty no 
human mind has ever even attempted to overcome, that 
is, to exhibit such a character radiant in the smallest acts 
of daily life, in the homeliest duties, in the lowliest con- 
descension and ministry of deed and doctrine ; and to bear 
it successfully through the scoff of the worldling, the keen- 
est antagonism of the refined dialectics of the self-right- 
eous, through the misunderstandings and betrayal by 
friends, the awful sufferings of a prolonged death in full 



244: JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 

sight of men. Yet this is just what Jesus has done in 
His own life, not in the less difficult task of portraying 
that life in another. The conception of this character was 
that of Jesus alone. This conception in all its minutiae 
and in its entirety was ever before Him, so that there is 
no discordant trait, and He was this character in this very 
world, in which no human brain has ever before or since 
even attempted to introduce a perfect character. If the 
universal canon of human judgment as to the possession of 
the highest powers of intellect, the capacity for the high- 
est forms of knowledge, the analytic and synthetic powers 
in the utmost stretch of their capacity, if this canon is 
of avail, then Jesus must be credited with the possession 
of mental powers beyond any other being who ever lived 
on this earth. 

It is now rather the fashion in some circles to compare 
Jesus with Sakia-Mouni, Confucius, Mahomet, to the ad- 
vantage of these last. Let any one compare Jesus' concep- 
tion of His character with the conceptions of character by 
other men, and, by all the laws of intellect, Jesus moves 
above them as far as the sun above its reflex on the 
wavelet. 

The critical school of the present day that denies to Je- 
sus anything but a " restricted intellectual outfit and out- 
look," affirms that His views were totally at variance with 
the teachings of the Old Testament rightly understood. 
Suppose we grant this for the moment. Then we must 
say that His plan for the good of mankind was wholly 
His own. 

This Man of thorough honesty of principle and life, of 
mental power beyond all others, who alone held the con- 
ception of a perfect life and alone realized it, this One 
had a definite plan before Him. 

History is full of the names of leaders of men, warriors, 
statesmen, philanthropists. Their names have come down 



JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 245 

to us, not because they were the children of fortune, but 
because of their plans conceived by minds of immense 
grasp and carried out by their power over men. It is this 
evidence of superior mental vigor and grasp that has en- 
throned Thotmes III., Alexander, Csesar, Napoleon, among 
kings over the kings of earth. But these men planned 
for dominion, wealth, glory. No one denies that self oc- 
cupied the first place in these vast schemes. Their steps 
to power were the multitudes of their slain. With each 
of them their plans perished also. If these plans, which 
filled the world with the glare of war and carnage and 
perished with their authors, are yet accounted the sure 
evidence of intellectual powers of the highest order, what 
shall be said of the plan of Jesus ? This plan embraced 
not a part of men, but men in all ages, of all climes, the 
whole habitable globe. Its aim was to bring men of all na- 
tions to the love and service of God, to the love and ser- 
vice of each other, to turn the world from its ceaseless 
moan of sin and anguish, to " righteousness and peace and 
joy in the Holy Spirit," which is " the kingdom of God." 
And this was to be accomplished by those who loved Him 
just telling the story of the life and death and resurrec- 
tion of Jesus, that men, believing this, should, by love for 
Him, be led to live as Jesus lived, for God and for man. 
This plan overtops all other plans of the greatest of men, 
as far as the whole world exceeds any of its parts. Here 
is entire absence of self, for the plan includes as its first 
step the death of Jesus, and He affirmed that ages must 
pass before His plan should attain its end in the hands of 
others. This plan in its infinite, beneficent reach, in the ab- 
sence of all self-seeking, in the utter simplicity of its mo- 
tive and means of accomplishment, in its absolute contra- 
diction of the most firmly intrenched beliefs of His day, 
this plan was original with Jesus, and is to-day, 1,800 
years after His death, in greater vigor of extension than 



JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 

ever before. Surely, if the highest powers of mind, all 
permeated with love and benevolence and disinterested- 
ness, ever appeared on earth, they are found only in Jesus. 

The thoughtful, reverent lovers of their fellow-men 
have in all ages awarded the highest places among the 
teachers of men to the sound thinkers on, and teachers of, 
morals. Confucius has on this ground held his place of 
teacher to one-fourth of the inhabitants of the globe for 
more than 2,000 years. But among all who have thus 
been exalted, Jesus Christ is the Supreme Master. Even 
the denial of intellectual outfit to Jesus is accompanied 
with the acknowledgment that He is our Master in His 
practical religious teaching. 

With what ease Jesus moved as at home in the highest 
ethical problems is shown by the lightning flash of His 
reply to the insidious query of the Pharisees : " Is it law- 
ful for us to give tribute unto Caesar or not ? " " Render 
unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the 
things that are God's "; which determines forever man's 
duty to the State and to God. Or consider that digest of 
law on the widest possible field of human activity : " Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with 
all thy soul, and with all thy mind "; " Thou shalt love 
thy neighbor as thyself." Or take the precept, applica- 
ble wherever man meets man, "As ye would that men 
should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." These 
few examples are sufficient to prove the possession by Je- 
sus of the highest powers of abstract thought on the sub- 
tlest relations of man, and of the power, quite as marvel- 
lous, of concentrating that thought in the simplest propo- 
sitions, so that a child can understand them. 

In addition to all these high qualities Jesus was also 
Master in the learning, which is the result of serious study 
and accurate thought, on the main subject of all His teach- 
ing, the Scriptures of the Old Testament. He was the 



JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 247 

Son of a mother " highly favored " of God, the sanctified 
temple of the Holy Spirit. Her husband was also one 
who had found favor with God. Under the care and 
teaching of these two holy servants of Jehovah, Jesus 
passed His earliest years. At twelve years of age He was 
intimately acquainted with the Scriptures of the Old Testa- 
ment, their only Bible. When, eighteen years after this, 
He enters on His life-work, He proves how diligent had 
been His study of the Old Testament. He knew it in 
both the original Hebrew, and in its accepted translation, 
the Greek. Whenever He had gone as a listening child 
to the synagogue, He had heard read only the Hebrew 
text followed by the spoken Aramaic paraphrase ; and 
whenever, in later life, He entered the synagogue and read 
from the Bible, as He did in the synagogue at Nazareth, 
He read the Hebrew text only. Though, in speaking to 
the people in popular address, He always quotes the Greek 
translation because it was the one read and best known by 
the people, yet in His quotations in Greek His knowledge 
of the Hebrew appears. But beyond this familiarity with 
the outward form of the Scriptures He shows the most in- 
timate acquaintance with both the proximate and ultimate 
thought of all its parts ; not only with the course of narra- 
tive, or with discourse of prophet, or song of the enraptured 
psalmist, but with the grand fundamental thought and pur- 
pose which bound all together. He had read that collec- 
tion of writings so deeply that He saw but one doctrine 
of the perfect life in " all the Law and Prophets " (Matt, 
vii. 12 ; xxii. 40 ; Luke vi. 31), one succession of holy 
prophets, from the righteous Abel, slain by a brother's 
hand in the gleaming light of the gate of Eden, to the 
prophet slain before the curtain that veiled the glory of 
God in the temple, " slain between the temple and the al- 
tar " (Matt, xxiii. 35 ; Luke xi. 51). For three years in 
the thick of the sharpest dialectical controversy the world 



248 JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 

has ever known, Jesus is never found at fault in a quota- 
tion, or in an interpretation of the meaning of the Scrip- 
tures. His opponents saw in Him only a man ; but when 
they tried all their wisdom and ingenuity to entangle Him 
in the most intricate webs they could weave of Scripture 
difficulties, His simple and clear answers put them to com- 
plete silence, " for they durst not any more ask Him any 
question " (Mark xii. 34 ; Luke xx. 40). He taught the 
meaning of the Scriptures " as having authority " (Matt, 
vii. 29 ; Mark i. 22), that is, the authority and power of 
the Scriptures themselves were concentrated in all His 
words, and " not as the scribes," whose knowledge of the 
words was accurate, but who were utterly ignorant of the 
real meaning of these words and of the significance of the 
Scriptures as an organic whole. 

Now we say that if ever a witness was qualified by the 
possession of the highest intellectual gifts, by a life in 
which no flaw has ever been detected, by impregnable hon- 
esty, by integrity of principle, thought, speech, life, pur- 
pose, by the clearest vision of all ethical truth and con- 
formity in life to it, by the most transparent disinterested- 
ness, by study and learning if ever a witness was qualified 
to give true testimony on all subjects connected with Him- 
self and with the purpose of His life, then Jesus stands out 
far above all other men as this witness. To refuse to be- 
lieve Him, after having all the proofs of His character be- 
fore us, is in effect to deny point-blank that there is suf- 
ficient evidence to prove any point to the human mind. 
To deny His lofty mental powers and to profess to revere 
His ethical teachings, is to deny the sun while striving to 
get warmth from its beams ; to deny that there is light 
while we walk only by it. And it is fully as great blind- 
ness in friends of Jesus to seek a refuge from attack, or a 
shield for the Shechinah of God, in denial of His mental 
power while they praise His life and teachings. 



JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 249 

Before this peerless character, this witness " faithful and 
true," the soundest, grandest minds of the centuries have 
bowed in deepest reverence, and, by their love for Him, 
have shown forth a life bearing some semblance to His. 
The leader of these grand minds and holy lives, the Apostle 
Paul, has, with his eye set upon Jesus, given us an extended 
description of prophecy and the prophet in the 12th, 13th, 
and 14th chapters of First Corinthians. Prophecy, he tells 
us, was the immediate effect wrought by the Holy Spirit, in 
persons specially chosen by God (1 Cor. xii. 7, 11, 28, 29). 
The outward seal of the prophecy, spoken by God through 
His chosen servant, was the character of the prophet ; and 
the celebrated 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians was writ- 
ten as a delineation of the character of the true prophet 
of God. He should be a man of humility and love, not 
puffed up by his gift, living for the good even of the men 
who most opposed him. This character was of greater 
importance to the prophet personally and as a guarantee 
to others, than the gift of prophecy (1 Cor. xii. 31 ; xiii. 
2, 8, 9 ; xiv. 1 ; Rom. xii. 1-9 ; Eph. iv. 1-16). 

Jesus was this character. He calls Himself a prophet 
(Matt. xiii. 57 ; Mark vi. 4 ; Luke iv. 24 ; John iv. 44 ; 
Luke xi. 50 ; xiii. 33, 34), and frequently affirms of Him- 
self that He was sent by God to teach only what God 
taught Him to say, and that He never taught anything 
else ; that He had not come to do His own will, but the 
will of Him that sent Him, and this will He always per- 
formed. He thus affirms His own inspiration, as He also 
does in numerous explicit statements, for all of which these 
clear words may stand as the example : " I spake not from 
myself ; but the Father which sent me, He hath given me a 
commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 
And I know that His commandment is life eternal : the 
things therefore which I speak, even as the Father hath 
said unto ine, so I speak " (John xii. 48-50), 



250 JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 

"We might stop here and ask if the witness of a prophet 
thus prepared with character and learning to attest His de- 
liverances would not be sufficient ? But by the witness of 
this very prophet, Jesus, we cannot stop here. He was 
not only the single perfect man this world has seen since 
the visible gate of Eden was closed, but He was far more. 
The elements and the features of His life before men 
were perfectly natural, and yet a world in sin cries out 
with truth that so perfect a character must be super- 
natural ; and Jesus agrees here with the world. Listen to 
this honest mind and heart in prayer to His Father at the 
supreme moment of His life : " And now, O Father, 
glorify Thou me with Thine own self with the glory which 
I had with Thee before the world was." " For Thou lov- 
edst me before the foundation of the world." Again, just 
as He ceases prayer, " All things have been delivered 
unto me of my Father; and no one knoweth the Son, 
save the Father ; neither doth any know the Father, save 
the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal 
Him." Again to the Jew, in whose Scriptures God had 
revealed Himself as the Eternal " I Am," and who bowed 
in reverential, though superstitious awe with mute lips be- 
fore the very letters of " The Name," and to whom his 
forefather Abraham seemed to be on the horizon of time, 
the beginnings of the grace of God to the Jew, Jesus 
most solemnly declared, " Verily, verily, I say unto you, 
Before Abraham was, I am. They took up stones there- 
fore to cast at Him"; but Jesus never modified the asser- 
tion. Nay, in all the variety of change, He makes the same 
assertion, and crowns all with the clear words in His last 
discourse with His disciples : " Ye believe in God, believe 
also in me." " If ye had known me, ye would have known 
ray Father also : from henceforth ye know Him and have 
seen Him." " He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." 
And these words He stamps, with all the guarantee of Hie 



JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 251 

character and inspiration, as the very words of His Father in 
Him ; " How sayest thou, Show us the Father ? Believest 
thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in me ? the 
words that I say unto you I speak not from myself ; but 
the Father abiding in me doeth His works." This Jesus, 
the Son of God, " the effulgence of His glory and the very 
image of His substance, and upholding all things by the 
word of His power," gave the most striking illustration 

that " all things were made by Him In Him was 

life ; and the life was the light of men," when, in refer- 
ence to that first creation of man by Jehovah God, who 
u breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man be- 
came a living soul," Jesus " breathed on His disciples and 
saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit." 

Before this perfect character, this greatest, lowliest of 
all ethical teachers, this wondrous complex of man and 
God over all blessed forever, we bow in deepest adoration, 
and confess with Paul, that He " is the image of the in- 
visible God, the first-born of all creation; for in Him 
were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, 
things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or do- 
minions or principalities or powers ; all things have been 
created through Him, and unto Him ; and He is before 
all things, and in Him all things consist." Or, with John, 
we say : " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word 
was with God, and the Word was God." " No man hath 
seen God at any time ; the only-begotten Son, which is 
in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." 

These are the qualifications of Jesus Christ, " the faith- 
ful and true witness," for testifying upon that most im- 
portant of all questions for sinful man, whom He came 
to save by the sacrifice of Himself, Where shall man find 
God speaking to him the words of eternal life ? His an- 
swer is as clear as day. 

The whole century, in part of which Jesus lived, is 



JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 

filled by the testimony of two most competent Jewish 
witnesses to the Scriptures, which they held as distinct 
from all other books, because given by a succession of 
prophets through whom God spoke. Their Scriptures 
agree with our present Old Testament in Hebrew, barring 
the mere minutiae of criticism. From that century to 
this, these Old Testament Scriptures have come to us by 
two streams of transmission, (during fifteen centuries en- 
tirely dissociated from each other,) the Jewish and Chris- 
tian. So that, if documentary testimony is of -any worth, 
we know to what Jesus referred as "The Scripture," 
"The Law," "The Law and the Prophets," "The Law of 
Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms"; it was the 
identical collection of writings which we possess in the 
Hebrew Old Testament. 

These Scriptures were, alike in all their parts, the word 
of God to Jesus. He mingles together the most diverse 
parts as equally valid history and proof. Take the twelfth 
chapter of Matthew, and there we find, 1 Sam. xxi. 3-6, 
Numb, xxviii. 9, 10, Lev. xxiv. 5-9, Hos. vi. 6, Jon. ii. 1, 
iii. 1-10, 1 Kings x. 1-10, directly quoted as all equally 
true ; or, Matt, xix., where Jesus quotes Gen. i. 27, ii. 24, 
Ex. xx. 13-16, Lev. xix. 18, and Deut. xxiv. 1 thus run- 
ning the whole scale of the Pentateuch, (which some 
learned men of the present day have decided is not the 
word of God) : all quoted as God's words ; or, Matt, xv., 
where Jesus asserts that Ex. xx. 12, xxi. 17, and Isa. xxix. 
13, were all equally the word of God ; or, Matt, xxiii. 35, 
Luke xi. 51, where He spans the extreme limits of the 
Hebrew Bible, by quoting Gen. iv. 3-8, and 2 Chron. 
xxiv. 18-22. 

Or, consider John x. 34, 35, where Jesus calls the 
whole Old Testament the Law, the Word of God, the 
Scripture. " Is it not written in your Law, I said, Ye are 
gods \ If He called them gods unto whom the word of 



JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 253 

God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken)," etc. 
These words, written in their " Law," are found in Ps. 
Ixxxii. 6, a Psalm of Asaph, and yet Jesus takes out those 
words, from what some now suppose to be an insignifi- 
cant, post-exile composition, and makes them a touchstone 
for the whole Scripture which He declares "cannot be 
broken," the word of the omnipotent God. 

This collection of writings, these Scriptures, were to 
Jesus an organic whole. They had one common teaching 
of the life of God in the soul of man ; " Thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, 
and with all thy mind." " Thou shalt love thy neighbor 
as thyself. On these two commandments hangeth the 
whole law and the prophets " (Matt. xxii. 37-40 ; Mark 
xii. 29-31). " All things, therefore, whatsoever ye would 
that men should do unto you, even so do ye also unto 
them ; for this is the Law and the Prophets." They also 
had one common supreme testimony, not to a shadowy 
hope, not to a mere human postulate of faith, but to a 
person, the Saviour, who should live and die and rise again 
for the salvation of man. " The Scriptures .... these 
are they which bear witness of Me." u Moses .... wrote 
of Me." " All things must needs be fulfilled which are 
written in the law of Moses, and the prophets and the 

psalms, concerning Me And He said unto them, 

Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer, and rise 
again from the dead the third day ; and that repentance 
and remission of sins should be preached in His name 
unto all the nations." 

Jesus has left us in no doubt as to the sense in which 
He understood the word of God ; all these Scriptures had 
God for their author : John v. 38 ; x. 35 ; Matt. xv. 6 ; 
Mark vii. 13. Between the author and the result, the 
spoken and written word of God, there was, by Jesus' 
teaching, the free, perfect co-operation of God's chosen 



254 JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 

servants. The type and example of all God's speaking 
through man, and so conveying the very words God 
would have spoken and written, is Jesus himself. He 
was the perfect Servant not a mere pen, or flute, or me- 
chanical intermediary but the most commanding intel- 
lect of all the ages, at home in the solution of the subtlest 
problems of man's highest good, Himself free as the very 
mind of God, and yet He tells us many, many times that 
He spoke only what God commanded Him to speak. 
" My teaching is not mine, but His that sent me." " The 
word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's who 
sent me." " I spake not from myself ; but the Father, 
who sent me, He hath given me a commandment, what I 

should say and what I should speak The things, 

therefore, which I speak, even as the Father hath said 
unto me, so I speak." And in the solemn rendering of 
the account of His life unto His Father in prayer, He re- 
curs to this most free and happy service, " These things I 
speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled ii\ 
themselves. I have given them Thy word." 

This reiteration of His own inspiration from God His 
Father, which covers His whole life, is the rule by which 
we understand what Jesus means when He says, it " was 
spoken of through Daniel the prophet " (Matt. xxiv. 15) ; 
" David in the spirit calleth Him Lord "; or when it is in- 
different to Him whether He says " Moses said " or " God 
said," or when He merely quotes by the formula " It is 
written," which takes the impress of His meaning from 
His repetition of it thrice in the first great conflict of His 
life with Satan in the desert (Matt, iv., Luke iv.). He 
rested His soul with absolute confidence on the written 
word of God in that typical contest with the enemy of all 
souls, as He rested His soul on that word amid the cyclone 
of death in Gethsemane, the Prsetorium, and on Calvary. 

Jesus is the perfectly qualified witness to the inspiration 



JESUS THE SUPREME WITNESS. 255 

of the Bible, as He is also the perfect example of convey- 
ing to man the very words God would have Him speak. 
What has been done by the Head of the Church has also 
been done by members of the Church specially chosen 
and fitted by God for this purpose. 

Are we Christians ? Jesus has left us His test of His 
true followers. " O Father, .... I manifested Thy name 
unto the men whom Thou gavest me out of the world : 
Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to me, and they 
have kept Thy word. Now they know that all things 
whatsoever Thou hast given me are from Thee : for the 
words which Thou gavest me I have given unto them ; 
and they received them, and knew of a truth that I came 
forth from Thee, and they believed that Thou didst send 



THE MOEAL GLOKY OF JESUS A PROOF OF 
INSPIRATION. 

W. G. MOOREHEAD, D.D. 

THE glories of the Lord Jesus Christ are threefold 
essential, official, and moral. 1. His essential glory is that 
which pertains to Him as the eternal Son of God, co- 
equal with the Father, Himself God. To His personal 
and uncreated glory, Jesus himself refers when He says : 
" And now, O Father, glorify Thou me with Thine own self 
with the glory which I had with Thee before the world 
was " (John xvii. 5). To it the Spirit bears witness when 
He says : " Who is the effulgence of His glory, and the 
very image of His person" (Heb. i. 3), words which 
suggested the phrase of the Nicene Creed, " Light of 
Light." 

2. His official glory is that which belongs to Him as the 
God-man, the Mediator. It is the reward conferred upon 
Him, the august promotion He received when He had 
brought His great work to a final, satisfactory, and tri- 
umphant conclusion. And with what clusters of official 
dignities is the Son of Man now invested. All power in 
heaven and on earth is given Him (Matt, xxviii. 18); 
God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name 
which is above every name (Phil. ii. 9) ; He is crowned 
with glory and honor (Heb. ii. 9). Once He trod this 
earth, the poor Man, despised and rejected, His face cov- 
ered with shame, a stranger to His brethren, an alien to 
His mother's children, the song of the drunkard (Ps. Ixix. 
7, 8, 12 ; Jno. i. 10, 11). Earth once cast Him out 
as unfit to live here. But God raised Him from the dead, 
(256) 



THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 257 

and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly 
places, far above all principality and power and dominion 
and might, and every name that is named, not only in 
this world, but also in that which is to come ; and hath put 
all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over 
all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of 
Him that filleth all in all (Eph. i. 20-23). No name is 
surrounded with such splendor, or commands such vener- 
ation as His. He has no superior and no rival. No 
sphere, however high or distant, is exempted from His 
control : no creature, however mighty, has a co-ordinate 
jurisdiction. And other glories await Him when He 
shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired 
in all them that believe (2 Thess. i. 10). 

3. The moral glory of the Lord Jesus consists of the 
perfections which marked His entire life on earth ; per- 
fections which attached to every circumstance in which 
He was found, to every relation He sustained whether 
toward God or man. His essential and official glories 
were commonly hid as He passed on through His earthly 
course. He did not walk through the land either as the 
Divine Son from the bosom of the Father, or as the au- 
thoritative Son of David. These glories He veiled, save 
where faith discovered them, or occasion demanded their 
display. But His moral glory could not be hid : He 
could not be less than perfect in everything : it belonged to 
Him : it was Himself. It now illumines every page of the 
evangelists, as once it did every path He trod here on earth. 

This moral glory of Jesus, as it is exhibited in the four 
Gospels, we are to contemplate not as an example most 
worthy of our imitation, nor to call forth our devout ad- 
miration and love, nor yet as an evidence of Christianity, 
though to all these ends it is most admirably fitted but 
for a single purpose, viz., as a proof of the inspiration of 
the Scriptures. 



258 THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 

In this discussion the Lord's person is assumed God 
and man in one Lord Jesus Christ. His work is also as- 
sumed His atoning sacrifice by which reconciliation was 
effected, and which is now preached for the acceptance 
and joy of faith. 

The proposition which we undertake to illustrate and 
establish is this : That the character of Jesus Christ, as 
delineated in the Gospels, cannot be the product of the 
unaided human mind. 

The portrait of Him which the authors of the Gospels 
have drawn is that of a subject too majestic and too sub- 
lime ever to have been idealized by uninspired men. He 
stands before us arrayed in a beauty and a grandeur 
which dwarf " the starry heavens above us, and the moral 
law within us." He shines forth with the self-evidencing 
light of the noonday sun. He is too great, too pure, too 
perfect, to have been invented by any sinful and erring 
man or set of men. His moral glories, which glow 
through all the pages of the Gospels with a deathless lus- 
tre, tell us of the presence of One in this dark and tearful 
world who is more than man ; and they tell us, also, that 
the pen which traced them was an inspired pen. We 
shall have occasion to verify the words of the infidel 
Kousseau : " It is more inconceivable that a number of 
persons should agree to write such a history, than that 
one should furnish the subject of it. The Jewish authors 
were incapable of the diction, and strangers to the moral- 
ity, contained in the Gospel. The marks of its truth are 
so striking and inimitable, that the inventor would be a 
more astonishing character than the hero." Manifold are 
the external proofs in favor of the integrity of the evan- 
gelistic narratives ; but greater far and more manifold 
are the internal evidences of their inspiration. Jesus 
Christ herein portrayed as a divinely perfect character ; 
perfect as a Child and as a Man; perfect in all His 



THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 259 

ways, and words, and service ; in wisdom and knowledge, 
in grace and holiness, in nearness and distance, among 
friends and enemies, in life and death : Jesus Christ, in 
all that He was while sojourning in the flesh, and in all 
that He now is in the highest heavens, is the one unfail- 
ing and unanswerable proof that the Gospel is from God, 
that it reveals God. 

The discussion of this great theme falls into two parts : 
I. A brief survey of Christ's character, as disclosed in the 
Gospels. II. The application of the argument. 

(" The character," and " The moral glory of Jesus," 
are not quite convertible terms. We consider the latter 
as the more comprehensive ; but to avoid repetition both 
are used.) 

1. The moral glory of Jesus appears in His develop- 
ment as Son of Man. The nature in which He appeared 
among men was our nature with all its needs, weaknesses, 
and limitations, sin and sinful propensities only excepted. 
His was a true and real humanity. As man, He pos- 
sessed a perfect and penetrating community of nature 
with the lot of humankind. He displayed a genuine 
humanity which could deem nothing human, strange 
which must pass through the various stages of growth 
like any other member of the race. 

It has been said of the Lord that " His manhood was 
perfectly natural in its development." The words of 
Luke justify the statement: "And the child grew, and 
waxed strong (in spirit), filled with wisdom : and the 
grace of God was upon him " (Lu. ii. 40, 52). Man is not 
at once what he must be, but becomes so by slow gra- 
dations : and He who in His matchless grace came down 
into all the circumstances of our actual humanity volun- 
tarily subjected Himself to the same laws of growth. 
From infancy to youth, from youth to manhood, there 
was steady increase both of the powers of His human 



260 THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 

body, and the faculties of His human soul : but the prog- 
ress was natural and orderly. No unhealthy precocity 
marked the holiest of infancies. His wisdom kept pace 
with His age. He was a child first, and afterward a man, 
not a man in child's years. His wisdom, wonderful as it 
must have been, was childlike still, growing as His years 
grew, and deriving its increase from all the common 
sources that lay open to it. We know that He was child- 
like as other children : for in after-years His brethren 
and townsmen thought His fame strange. They could 
not believe that One who had gone in and out among 
them, who had often toiled for them, and whom no doubt 
they had often seen covered with the dust and shavings 
of His trade (Mark vi. 3), could wield such marvellous 
powers : He had given no token of their possession during 
the thirty years He had dwelt at Nazareth. Artists paint 
Him as a child in His mother's arms, His brow encircled 
with a halo of glory ; but in point of fact no glory shone 
around that holy person. "He was in the world, and 
the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him 
not." 

As the Son of Man He is represented as compassed 
about with all the sinless infirmities which belong to our 
nature. He has needs common to us all : need of rest, of 
food, of drink, of human sympathy and Divine assistance. 
That He may escape the murderous hate of Herod, Jo- 
seph and Mary must bear Him swiftly and secretly into 
a place of safety. That His precious life may not be en- 
dangered from the jealousies of the reigning dynasty, He 
is withdrawn into the obscurity of Nazareth. He is ha- 
bitually subject to His parents ; He recognizes the au- 
thority of the State. The scattered and fainting multi- 
tude melts Him to compassion ; He weeps human tears 
of sorrow at the grave of Lazarus, and over the impeni- 
tent city. He is a worshipper in the Synagogue and the 



THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 261 

Temple : He marvels at the unbelief of men, is indignant 
at their captiousness. He expresses His dependence on 
God by prayer, and loves the society of those who love 
Him. 

Nothing is more obvious than the significant fact that 
throughout the gospel narratives Jesus is presented to us 
as a true man, a veritable member of our race. But we 
no sooner recognize this momentous truth than we are 
confronted with another that sets these records alone and 
unapproachable in the field of literature. This second 
fact is this : At every stage of His development, in every 
relation of life, in every part of His service, He is abso- 
lutely perfect. Whatever He is, and whatever He does, 
while it is borne and done in a purely human manner, is 
nevertheless altogether superhuman. While His love, 
His pity, His sympathy, His grace, are genuinely human, 
they are still all Divine. His human development is free 
from all one-sidedness, even in temperament and charac- 
ter ; He is always Himself and the same, because He is 
always perfect. To no part of His life does a mistake 
attach, over no part of it does a cloud rest, nowhere in it 
is there found defect or perversion. " There is an un- 
broken unity in His life and endeavor, which stands forth 
in the sharper contrast as compared with the conflict and 
discord around Him." Those who are most closely re- 
lated to Him His neighbors and kinsmen fall immeas- 
urably bulow Him. We feel as we read, we cannot but 
feel, that the people of Nazareth, the people of Galilee, 
nay, the very best in Jerusalem itself, cannot furnish one 
solitary person whom for a moment we dare compare with 
Him. All fade away in His presence, even as the stars 
fade before th^ majestic splendors of the sun. The dis- 
ciples are full of prejudice and ignorance, of misappre- 
hensions and errors, and He must constantly correct them. 
The purest and most austere man that lived on earth in 



262 rHE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 

that day, John the Baptist, fails in the time of trial. 
Even the mother, herself, though she " pondered " things 
in her heart, is often beset with clouds and doubt and 
darkness, and He must correct and rebuke her. He 
knows when to own her claims as she makes them ; when 
to resist them though she makes them ; when to recog- 
nize them unsought. " He trod each path and filled each 
spot in that mind which was according to the character 
He bore under God's eye." 

Thus the moral glory of Jesus shines in its seasons ; 
and the same glory gets other seasonable expressions in 
other features of His life. 

2. The Gospels do not only assert the real incorpora- 
tion of the Lord Jesus with our kind : they do much 
more than this. They exalt Him infinitely above us 
all as the representative, the ideal, the pattern man. 
They clothe Him with the character, the attributes, and 
the distinctions of the universal Man, the One whose hu- 
man life does justice to the most exalted idea of human- 
ity. 

Nothing, in the judgment of historians, stands out so 
sharply distinct as race, national character nothing is 
more ineffaceable. The Jew was marked off from all 
mankind ; he still is to this day. Wherever he wanders 
over the earth, the tell-tale face he wears proclaims him 
the descendant of Abraham. The Frenchman differs 
widely from the Englishman and the Oriental, the Ger- 
man from all three. Notwithstanding our boasted cos- 
mopolitanism, we Americans are fast making for our- 
selves a national type which distinguishes us from other 
peoples. The very greatest men are unable to free them- 
selves from the influences in the midst of which they 
have been reared and educated. Peculiarities of race and 
the spirit of the age leave in their characters traces which 
are imperishable. To the last fibre of his being, Luther 



THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 263 

was German, Calvin was French, Knox was Scotch. 
Augustine bears the unmistakable impress of the Roman, 
and Chrysostom is as certainly Greek. Even Paul, with 
his large-heartedness, his wonderful affection for every 
class and condition of men. is nevertheless a Jew, always 
a Jew. As with men, so with the great religious books 
of the world. Each is tinged with a local coloring, each 
moves within a narrow circle of thought, and is accord- 
ingly limited in its influence. The sacred books of Per- 
sia and of India have never had other than a local re- 
ception. Even the Koran could never attain a permanent 
hold on the n itions of the West. Of universal religious 
books there is but one the Bible. It alone finds a wel- 
come among nations of every region and of the most di- 
verse habits of life and thought, because it is the word of 
God, and therefore speaks to the universal heart of man. 

As the Bible stands alone among the books of the 
world, so the Author of Christianity occupies a pre- 
eminent place among the children of men. Jesus Christ 
is the only One who is justly entitled to be called the 
Catholic Man. Although He was born and reared in 
the inidst of the most exclusive people on earth, nothing 
local, transient, individualizing, national, or sectarian 
dwarfs the proportions of His world-embracing charac- 
ter. " He rises above the parentage, the blood, the nar- 
row horizon which bounded, as it seemed, His Human 
Life ; He is the Archetypal Man in whose presence dis- 
tinctions of race, intervals of ages, types of civilization, 
degrees of mental culture are as nothing " (Liddon). In 
Him there is no national peculiarity, no individual idio- 
syncrasy. The comprehensiveness of His manhood is 
such that no age or nation can claim Him as its own : 
He belongs to ail ages, is related to all men, whether they 
shiver amid the snows of the Arctic Circle, or pant beneath 
the burning heat of the Equator ; for He is the Son of 



264 THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 

Man, the Son of mankind, the genuine offspring of the 
race. 

Yan Oosterzee thinks that a deep seriousness underlies 
the jest of the heathen philosopher when he kindled his 
lantern at midday in order to seek for men. " Poor Diog- 
enes ! men, that fully deserve this name, you could not 
find around you ; because the perfect Man, the Restorer 
of our race, had not yet appeared upon earth." The idea! 
of the true Sage, as the Greeks and the Romans depicted 
him, was as little perfect as attainable. One sought for 
him in the contempt and scorn of the world, and in the 
stern repression of the voices of nature within him ; an- 
other, in sensual enjoyment and unbridled license. Soc- 
rates united traces of moral greatness with the most mel- 
ancholy littleness : and Plato looked in vain for the com- 
ing of a perfectly wise and righteous one. 

At length He appears who is the desire of all nations, 
in whom all nations find their ideal and their Redeemer. 
Although born in Judea, He is not a Jew ; born in Asia, 
He is not an Oriental ; much less is He a Greek, and still 
less a Roman. He is the Son of Man, the Friend and 
Brother of all men ; like the first man Adam, but more 
than he ; for He is also the Son of God. Higher than the 
highest, His infinite tenderness and pity flow out to the 
lowliest and the most abandoned. He is no poet, and yet 
a world of poesy slumbers in His matchless parables : no 
philosopher, yet wisdom discloses her divinest oracles by 
His lips : no conqueror, yet He wins the most stupendous 
victory the world has ever seen or will see. It is not too 
much to say with another, " that as the fullness of the 
Godhead dwelleth in Him, so we may add, in Him dwell- 
eth all the fullness of humanity bodily." 

3. His moral glory appears in His unselfishness and 
personal dignity. 

The entire absence of selfishness in any form from the 



THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 265 

character of Jesus is another remarkable feature in the 
Gospel narratives. He had frequent and fair opportuni 
ties of gratifying ambition had His nature been tainted 
with that passion. But "even Christ pleased not Him- 
self": He sought not " His own glory ": He came not " to 
do His own will." His body and His soul, with all the 
faculties, the activities, the latent powers of each, were 
abandoned for the glory of God and the good of His peo- 
ple. His self-sacrifice included the whole range of His 
human thought and affection and action : it lasted through- 
out His life : its highest expression was His death on the 
cross. 

This complete renunciation of all that has no object be- 
yond self on the part of Jesus touches every relation of 
His human life everything, in short, that men hold dear : 
it extends to His relatives, His home, His pleasure, His 
reputation, His repose. Dear to Him is the solitude in 
which He can hold undisturbed communion with the 
Father ; but no sooner do the disciples announce to Hirn 
that the multitude seek Him, than He is moved with com- 
passion toward them, without the slightest trace of vexa- 
tion at the interruption. When from His nocturnal sanc- 
tuary He beholds the distress of His followers upon the 
stormy waves, He quits it at once to hasten to their re- 
lief. Welcome to Him is the refreshment prepared for 
Him by love and friendship : but this sweet luxury of life 
He allows Himself only at those rare moments when no 
higher duty makes demand upon Him. He imposes on 
Himself, as has been truly said, greater toil and more 
steadfast self-restraint, when the things which men most 
prize, and for which they most eagerly long, are pressed 
upon Him by the admiring and enthusiastic multitudes. 
Whether He labors or reposes, whether He suffers or en- 
joys, speaks or is silent, grants or refuses, comes or remains 
away always and everywhere He is the obedient One. 



266 THE MORAL GLOR Y OF JESUS. 

The strange beauty of His unselfishness is that it never 
seeks to draw attention to itself: it deprecates publicity : 
it loves to disclose itself to the eye of God alone, and to 
those who can understand and appreciate it. He seems, 
in His unselfish humility, as one naturally contented with 
obscurity; as wanting the restless desire for eminence 
which is so common in really great men ; as disliking 
competition and disputes as to who should be greatest ; 
as eager and careful that even His miracles should not add 
to His reputation. 

But amid all His self-sacrificing humility, He never 
loses His personal dignity, and the noble self-respect 
which becomes Him. He would receive ministry from 
some godly women out of their substance, and yet minis- 
ter to the need of all around Him out of the treasures of 
the earth. He would feed thousands in the desert places, 
and yet Himself be an hungered, waiting for the return 
of the disciples from a neighboring village. But while 
thus poor, needy, and exposed, nothing that in the least 
savored of personal degradation or the loss of self-respect 
is ever seen attaching to His condition. He never begs 
though He have not a penny ; for when He wanted to see 
one (not to use it for Himself) He must ask to be shown 
it. He may request a cup of water at the well of Sychar, 
but it is that He may save a soul. He never flies from 
enemies, though, as we speak, His life be in jeopardy. 
He withdraws Himself, or passes by unseen. He never 
takes advantage of the violence of factions or the strife of 
rival schools to protect Himself from the fury of the mob. 
He is always calm, serene. He seems to care little for 
Himself, but everything for the honor and glory of the 
Father. If it be defilement of His Father's house, He 
will let zeal consume Him : if it be His own wrongs at 

O 

the hands of Samaritan villagers, He will suffer it, and 
pass on. If multitudes, eager and expectant, press upon 



THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 267 

Him, shouting " Hosanna," He is not elated ; if all fall 
away, stunned by His words of power, He is not cast 
down. For He sought not a place among men ; quickly 
veiled His glory, that He might be the Servant the 
girded, not the arrayed One. 

And yet through all His amazing humility and self-re- 
nunciation, there glances ever and anon something of the 
majesty and supreme dignity which belong to Him alone 
who is over all God blessed forever. The beautiful words 
of a great theologian who not long ago passed away from 
earth are profoundly true: "It is the same King's Son 
who to-day dwells in the palace of His Father, and to- 
morrow, out of love to rebellious subjects 5 in a remote 
corner of the kingdom, renouncing His princely glory, 
comes to dwell amongst them in the form of a servant 
limiting of His own free will the prerogatives of His 
original rank, which He has never laid aside and is 
known only by the dignity of His look, and the star of 
royalty on His breast, when the mean cloak is opened for 
a moment, apparently by accident ! " (Van Oosterzee). 

4. The moral glory of Jesus is exhibited by His superi- 
ority to human judgment and intercession. 

When challenged by the disciples or by enemies, as the 
Lord often was, He never apologizes, never excuses Him- 
self. On one occasion the disciples complain, "Master, 
carest Thou not that we perish ? " But He does not think 
of vindicating the sleep out of which the summons awakes 
Him, as one of ourselves would assuredly have done. On 
another, Martha and Mary say each in turn to Him, 
" Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother had not died." 
There is not a minister of the Gospel the world over who 
would not in similar circumstances explain or try to ex- 
plain why he could not at once repair to the house of 
mourning when summoned thither. But Jesus does not 
excuse His not having been there, nor His delay of two 



268 THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 

days in the place where He was. In the consciousness of 
the perfect righteousness of His ways He simply says, 
" Thy brother shall rise again." Peter takes it upon him 
to admonish Him : " This be far from Thee, Lord ; this 
shall not be unto Thee." But Peter has to learn that it 
is Satan who had prompted the admonition. The officer 
in the palace of the high-priest would correct Him, smit- 
ing Him on the cheek. But he is convicted of breaking 
the rules of judgment in the very place and face of judg- 
ment. The mother rebukes Him, when, after three days' 
search, she finds Him in the Temple ; but instead of mak- 
ing good her charge, she has to listen to Him convicting 
the darkness and error of her thoughts. 

And thus it is on every occasion : whether challenged, 
or admonished, or rebuked, Jesus never recalls a word 
nor retraces a step. Every tongue that rises in judgment 
against Him, He condemns. 

JNor does He recall a word when the Jews rightly in- 
ferred from His language that " He being a man, made 
Himself equal with God." He pointed out the application 
of the name Elohim to judges under the Theocracy, and 
yet irresistibly implies that His title to the name is higher 
than, and distinct in kind from, that of the Jewish mag- 
istrates. He thus arrives a second time at the assertion 
which had given so great offence. The Jews understood 
Him. He did not retract what they accounted blasphemy, 
and they again sought His life. He is never mistaken, 
and never at fault. 

So, likewise, He is superior to human intercession. In 
Gethsemane He asked the disciples to watch with Him ; 
He did not ask them to pray for Him. He could claim 
human sympathy: He prized it in the hour of weakness 
and sorrow ; and this is no small proof of the human per- 
fection that was His. But while He felt this and did this, 
He could not ask them to stand in the Divine Presence 



THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 269 

as in His behalf. He would have them give themselves 
to Him, but He could not ask them to give themselves to 
God for Him. Paul writes to his fellow-saints, " Brethren, 
pray for us"; u pray for me." But such was never the 
language of Jesus. It is worthy of note that He never 
places His people on a level with Himself in His inter- 
cessions. He maintains the distance of His own proper 
dignity and exalted relations with the Father between 
Himself and them. He never uses plural personal pro- 
nouns in His prayers. He always says, " I," and " me," 
and " these " and " them " that " thou hast given me "; 
never " we " and " us," as we speak in our petitions. He 
is solitary, unique, the heavenly Stranger in the world. 

5. The sinlessness of Jesus witnesses to His moral 
glory. 

The Gospel narratives record that during His earthly 
manifestation, from beginning to end, He preserved Him- 
self absolutely pure and free from all sins. No more can 
be done now than to name the witnesses, and the general 
tenor of their evidence. 

We have the testimony of His enemies. For three 
long years the Pharisees were watching their victim. As 
another writes, " There was the Pharisee mingling in every 
crowd, hiding behind every tree. They examined His 
disciples : they cross-questioned all around Him. They 
looked into His ministerial life, into His domestic privacy, 
into His hours of retirement. They came forward with 
the sole accusation they could muster, that He had shown 
disrespect to Csesar. The Roman judge, who ought to 
know, pronounced it void." There was another spy 
Judas. Had there been one act of sin, one failure in all 
the Redeemer's career, in His hour of awful agony Judas 
would have remembered it for his comfort ; but the bit- 
terness of his despair, that which made his life insuffer- 
able, was that he had " betrayed the innocent blood." 



270 THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 

There is the testimony of His friends. His disciples 
tell us that during their intercourse with Him His life 
was unsullied. Had there been a single blemish, they 
would have detected it, and, honest historians as they 
were, they would have recorded it. 

Nor is His own testimony to be overlooked. Jesus never 
once confesses sin. He never once asks for pardon. Yet 
is it not He who so sharply rebukes the self-righteous- 
ness of the Pharisees ? Does He not seem to ignore all 
human piety that is not based upon a broken heart ? But 
yet He never lets fall a hint, He never breathes a prayer 
which implies any, the slightest trace of personal blame- 
worthiness. Never does He associate Himself with any 
passing experience of that dread of the penal future with 
which His own solemn words must needs fill the sinner's 
heart. If He urge sorrow and tears upon others, it is 
for their sins: if Himself sorrow and groan in agony, it 
is not for sins of His own, it is for others'. He challenges 
His enemies to convince Him of sin. Not only has He 
done no evil, but the good in Him is so pure and holy 
that the hatred of His foes is all the more inexcusable 
and criminal. " They hated me without a cause," He 
could say at the end of His life. 

Nor is this all. " The soul," it has been said, " like 
the body, has its pores "; and the pores are always open. 
" Instinctively, unconsciously, and whether a man will or 
not," says Canon Liddon, "the insignificance or the 
greatness of the inner life always reveals itself." From 
its very centre and essence the moral nature is ever 
throwing out about itself circles of influence ; encompasses 
itself with an atmosphere which discloses the inner life. 
In Jesus this self-revelation was not involuntary, or acci- 
dental, or forced : it was in the highest degree deliberate. 

He surrounds Himself with an air of superior holiness 
and moral elevation of being that still lingers in the world, 



THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 2T1 

and that is encountered in every page of the Gospels; 
and yet He is felt to be the most gracious and accessible 
of men. We observe in His ways a tenderness never 
seen in mere men, yet we instinctively feel that He is a 
Stranger : a Stranger so far as revolted man was filling 
the scene, but intimately near so far as misery and need 
demanded Him. The distance He took and the intimacy 
He expressed were perfect. He did more than look upon 
the misery that was around Him : He entered into it with 
a sympathy which was all His own ; and He did more 
than refuse the pollution that was around Him : He kept 
the very distance of holiness itself from every touch and 
stain of it. He is near in our weariness, our hunger, our 
danger. He is apart from our tempers, our selfishness, 
and our sin. " His holiness made Him an utter stranger 
in such a polluted world ; His grace kept Him ever active 
in such a needy and afflicted world." He was like a ray 
of light, which, corning from the fountain of light, can 
pass through the most defiling medium and still be un- 
tainted and unstained. Such was the mystery of His 
person, such the perfection of His manhood, that the 
temptation in Him was as real as was the undefilableness. 

He had God's relation to sin. He knew evil, but was 
in divine supremacy over it knowing it even as God 
knows it. But yet His perfect knowledge of man in all 
his wickedness detracts nothing from His matchless com- 
passion for sinners. His pity goes forth as freely to the 
publican, the harlot, the demoniac, the thief, as to the 
most exemplary among men. His life on earth is one 
stately hymn, which ceaselessly rises heavenward, and 
runs through all the scales, without being interrupted by 
a single jarring note. 

6. The exquisite assemblage and correlation of virtues 
and excellences in the character of Christ form another 
very remarkable feature of the Gospel narratives. 



272 1HE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 

There have been those who have displayed distin- 
guished traits of character ; those who, by reason of spe- 
cial endowments and extraordinary gifts, have risen to 
heights which to the mass of men are inaccessible. But 
among the mightiest of the sons of men, which one has 
shown himself to be evenly balanced and rightly poised 
in all his faculties and powers, so that he maintains his 
equilibrium under every condition of life ? In the very 
best and greatect, inequality and disproportion are en- 
countered. Generally the failings and vices of men are 
in the ratio of their virtues and powers. The tallest bod- 
ies cast the longest shadows. In Jesus Christ there is no 
unevenness. There is in Him no preponderance of tho 
imagination over the feeling, of the intellect over the 
imagination, of the will over the intellect. There is in 
Him an uninterrupted harmony of all the powers of body 
and soul, in which that serves which ought to serve, and 
that rules which ought to rule, and all work together to 
one adorable end. In Him every grace is in its perfect- 
ness; none in excess, none out of place, none wanting. 
In Him justice never suffers from the exercise of the 
most amazing mercy, truth is never overshadowed by 
His peerless love, and the freest pardon never for an in- 
stant clouds His holiness. In Him firmness never degen- 
erates into obstinacy, or calmness into stoical indifference. 
His gentleness never becomes weakness, or His elevation 
of soul, forgetfulness of others. In His best and most be- 
loved servants, virtues and graces are uneven, and often 
clash and jostle with each other. In their very attempts 
to live and die for Him who loves them, they only show 
how unlike Him they are, how far below Him they fall. 

Moreover, the account of Jesus' life on earth becomes 
all the more unapproachable and unique when it is ob- 
served that it is made up of a union of excellences which 
seem at first sight irreconcilable, but which, when 



THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 273 

blended and duly proportioned, constitute moral 'har- 
mony of the sublirnest kind. One who did not receive 
the testimony of Scripture as do we, clearly saw this fea- 
ture in Him, and spoke of it in words we may use : " He 
joined strong feeling and self-possession ; an indignant 
sensibility to sin, and compassion for the sinner ; an in- 
tense devotion to His work, and calmness under opposi- 
tion and ill-success ; a universal philanthropy, and a sus- 
ceptibility of private attachments ; the authority which 
became the Saviour of the world, and the tenderness arid 
gratitude of a son " (Channing). His immovable equa- 
nimity is such that He is just as little elated when He is 
above measure extolled, as disappointed when He is with- 
out cause humiliated. In Him one day's walk never con- 
tradicts another, one hour's service never clashes with 
another. While conscious that He is from God and will 
soon return to God, His unfeigned sympathy makes Him 
accessible to all. While He shows He is master of na- 
ture's tremendous forces and the Lord of the unseen 
world, He turns aside and lays His glory by to take lit- 
tle children in His arms and to bless them. While every- 
where He must endure the contradiction of sinners, must 
walk amid the snares His foes have privily spread for His 
feet, He is always equal to every occasion ; is in harmony 
with the requirements of every moment. He never speaks 
where it would be better to keep silence ; never keeps si- 
lence where it would be better to speak ; but ever leaves 
the arena of controversy a conqueror 1 

Bred a Jewish carpenter, He issues from obscurity and 
claims for Himself a divine office, a superhuman dignity, 
such as had never been imagined, and in no instance does 
He fall below the character. He talks of His glories as 
one to whom they are familiar, and of His intimacy and 
oneness with God, as simply as a child speaks of his con- 
nection with his parents. He speaks of saving the world, 



274 THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 

of drawing all men to Himself, and of giving everlasting 
life, as we speak of the ordinary powers which we exert. 
This unaffected majesty, so wonderfully depicted in the 
Gospels, runs through His whole life, and is as discerni- 
ble in the midst of scorn and poverty, in Gethsemane and 
at Calvary, as on tlie mount of Transfiguration and the 
triumphant resurrection from the dead. 

Y. We observe, lastly, that the moral glory of Jesus, as 
it is delineated in the Gospels, exerts a boundless influ- 
ence upon the world. 

Unbelief has been compelled to confess that " all the 
philosophers have had no perceptible influence on the 
morals of the street in which they lived ; but Jesus Christ 
has new-created the world." This witness is true. What 
moral power do the ancient philosophies now wield among 
men ? When the awful conviction takes hold on a man 
that he must face God about his sins, will he turn to these 
for relief and help ? Who cares what Plato or Seneca, 
Socrates or Epictetus, thought and taught ? We read into 
them, if we read at all, with a feeling akin to that which 
prompts us to inspect a museum of antiquities. Some- 
how the memorials of the Lord Jesus contained in the 
Gospels are ever young and fresh. Somehow, like their 
exalted Subject, they retain the dew of their youth. 
Somehow they yield as profound instruction, as pure joy, 
as holy and transforming power now as when they were 
first sent fo th into the world. Let us hear the opinion 
of one who was neither a pietist nor weak-minded Na- 
poleon Bonaparte. " The Gospel possesses a secret virtue, 
a mysterious efficacy, a warmth, which penetrates and 

soothes the heart The Gospel is not a book ; it is 

living being, with a vigor, a power which conquers every- 
thing that opposes." Let us hear the verdht of history, as it 
is bummed up by Mr. Lecky : "The brief record of three 
short years of active life has done more to soften and re- 



THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 275 

generate mankind than all the disquisitions of philoso- 
phers, and than all the exhortations of moralists." The 
European, the Asiatic, the African, the aboriginal Amer- 
ican, even Darwin's Patagonian savage, have alike con- 
fessed its power. This brief record has surmounted all 
the peculiarities of race and temperament. Men of the 
greatest minds have bowed to it ; men of the greatest 
moral elevation have been raised still higher by its influ- 
ence. It has raised up "the poor out of the dust, and 
lifted up the beggar from the dung-hill, to set them 
among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of 
glory " (1 Sam. ii. 8). 

What is the secret of this power, this perennial vigor, 
which the Gospels possess? The answer to the inquiry is 
not difficult Christ is in them, reveals Himself through 
them. It is He whose perfect character and whose fault- 
less life are here recorded, who gives these incomparable 
narratives all their potency and all their charm. In the 
four Gospels One is presented to us who transcends the 
actual Christianity of every age. No branch of the 
Church, nor all the branches combined ; not the whole 
body of believers, even when they have most of His mind 
and Spirit, can approximate Him. Some rays of His 
glory they may reflect, but not Himself. The Scriptures 
alone do that. And the effect of the unveiling of His 
person, just as He is depicted by the Evangelists, ever 
has been and ever will be the source of a renewal of vi- 
tality to the Church, and of turning multitudes from 
darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. 

Such are some of the beams of Christ's moral glory as 
they shine everywhere on the pages of the four Gospels. 
A very few of them are here gathered together. Never- 
theless, what a stupendous portrait do they form ! Noth- 
ing next to or like it is to be found in the annals of the 
whole race. Here is One presented to us who is a true 



276 THE MORAL GLORY OF fESUS. 

and genuine man, and yet He is the ideal, the represent- 
ative, the pattern man ; claiming kindred in the catho- 
licity of His manhood with all men; sinless, yet full of 
tenderness and pity ; higher than the highest, yet stooping 
to the lowest and the most needy ; perfect in all His words 
and ways, in His life and in His death! 

Who taught the Evangelists to draw this matchless 
picture ? The pen which traced these glories of Jesus 
could it have been other than an inspired pen ? This 
question leads us to the second part of our task, which 
can soon be disposed of II. The application of the argu- 
ment. 

Nothing is more obvious than the very commonplace 
axiom, that every effect requires an adequate cause. 
Given a piece of machinery, complex, delicate, exact in 
all its movements, we know that it must be the product 
of a competent mechanic. Given a work of consummate 
art, we know it must be the product of a consummate 
artist. None but a sculptor with the genius of an An- 
gelo could carve the " Moses " of the Vatican. None but 
a painter with the hand, the eye, the brain of a Raphael, 
could paint the " Transfiguration." None but a poet 
with the gifts of a Milton could write " Paradise Lost." 

Here are four brief records of our Lord's earthly life. 
They deal almost exclusively with His public ministry : 
they do not profess even to relate all that He did in His 
official work (cf. John xxi. 25). The authors of these 
memorials were men whose names are as household words 
the world over, but beyond their names we know little 
more. The iirst was a tax-collector under the Roman 
government; the second was, it is very generally be- 
lieved, that John Mark who for a time served as an at- 
tendant on Paul and Barnabas, and who afterward be- 
came the companion and fellow-laborer of Peter; the 
third was a physician, and the devoted friend and co- 



THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 277 

worker of Paul ; and the fourth was a fisherman. Two 
of the four Matthew and John were disciples of Jesus. 
Whether the others, Mark and Luke, ever saw Him 
during His earthly sojourn, cannot be certainly deter- 
mined. 

These four men, nnpracticed in the art of writing, un- 
acquainted with the ideals of antiquity, write the memo- 
rials of Jesus' life. Three of them traverse substantially 
the same ground, record the same incidents, discourses, 
and miracles. While they are penetrated with the pro- 
foundest admiration for their Master, they never once di- 
late on His great qualities. All that they do is to record 
His actions and discourses with scarcely a remark. One 
of them indeed, John, intermingles reflective commentary 
with the narrative ; but in doing this, John carefully ab- 
stains from eulogy and panegyric. He pauses in his nar- 
rative only to explain some reference, to open some deep 
saying of the Lord, or to press some vital truth. Yet, 
despite this a' sence of the Km llest attempt to delineate 
a character, these four men have accomplished what no 
others have done or can do they have presented the 
world with the portrait of a Divine Man, a glorious 
Saviour I Matthew describes Him as the promised Mes- 
siah, the glory of Israel, the Son of David, the Son of 
Abraham ; the One in whom the covenants arid promises 
find their ample fulfilment; the One who accomplishes 
all righteousness. Mark exhibits Him as the mighty 
Servant of God who does man's neglected duty, and 
meets the need of all around. Luke depicts Him as the 
Friend of man, whose love is so intense and comprehen- 
sive, whose pity is so divine, that His saving power goes 
forth to Jew and Gentile, to the lowliest and the loftiest, 
to the public n, the Samaritan, the ragged prodigal, the 
harlot, the thief, as well as to the cultivated, the moral, 
the great. John presents Him as the Son of God, the 



278 THE MORAL GLORY jOF JESUS. 

Word made flesh ; as Light for a dark world, as Bread 
for a starving world, as Life for a dead world. 

Matthew writes for the Jew ; Mark for the Roman ; 
Luke for the Greek ; John for the Church ; and all of 
them write for every kindred, and tribe, and nation, and 
tongue, and people of the entire globe, and for all time.! 

What the philosopher, the poet, the scholar, the artist, 
could not do; what the statesman, the warrior, the 
prince, could not do ; what men of the most colossal 
minds, the most stupendous genius, have failed to do, 
these four un practiced men have done they have pre- 
sented to the world the Son of Man and the Son of God, 
in all His perfections and glories ! 

How comes it to pass that these unlearned and ignorant 
men (Acts iv. 13) have accomplished so great a feat ? Let 
us hold fast our commonplace axiom : every effect must 
have an adequate cause. What explanation shall we give 
of this amazing effect? Shall we ascribe their work to 
genius? But multitudes of men both before and since 
their day have possessed genius of the very highest or- 
der ; and these gifted men have labored in fields akin to 
this of our four Evangelists. The mightiest minds of the 
race men of Chaldea, of Egypt, of Greece, of China, 
and of India have essayed to draw a perfect character, 
to paint a godlike man. And with what result? Either 
he is invested with the passions and brutalities of fallen 
man, or he is a pitiless and impassible spectator of the 
world's sorrows and woes. In either case, the character 
is one which may command the fear, but not the love and 
confidence of men. 

The Christ of the Gospels is the true God-man. He is 
the eternal Son of God. Yet He is genuinely human : a 
sharer of our nature ; tempted in all points like as we are, 
yet without sin. 

Again we ask, How did the Evangelists solve this 



THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 279 

mighty problem of humanity with such perfect original- 
ity and precision ? Only two answers are rationally pos- 
sible : 1. They had before them the living model the 
personal and historical Christ. Men could no more in- 
vent the God-man of the Gospels than they could create 
a world. The almost irreverent words of Theodore 
Parker are grounded in absolute truth-: " It would have 
taken a Jesus to forge a Jesus." 2. They wrote by in- 
spiration of the Spirit of God. It cannot 'be otherwise. 
It is not enough to say that the Divine Model was before 
them : they must have had something more, else they 
never could have succeeded. 

Let it be assumed that these four men, Matthew, Mark, 
Luke, and John, were personally attendant on the minis- 
try of Jesus that they saw Him, heard Him, companied 
with Him for three years. Yet, on their own showing, 
they did not understand Him. They testify that the 
disciples got but the slenderest conceptions of His person 
and mission from His very explicit teachings. They tell 
us of a wonderful incapacity and weakness in all their 
apprehensions of Him. The Sun of Righteousness was 
shining on them and around them, and fhey could see 
only the less ! And yet these four men, once so blind and 
ignorant, write four little pieces about the person and 
work of Jesus which the study and research of Christen- 
dom for eighteen hundred years have not exhausted, and 
which the keenest and most hostile criticism of the world 
cannot shake. 

But this is not all. Others have tried their hand at 
composing the Life of Jesus. Compare some of these 
with our four Gospels. 

The Gospel narrative observes an almost unbroken 
silence as to the long abode of Jesus at Naz reth. Of 
the void thus left the Church became early impatient. 
During the first four centuries many attempts were made 



280 THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 

to fill it up. Some of these apocryphal gospels are still 
extant, notably two, entitled the Gospel of the Infancy ; 
and it is instructive to notice how those succeeded who 
tried to lift the veil which covers the earlier years of 
Christ. Let another state the contrast between the New 
Testament records and the spurious gospels : " The case 
stands thus : Our Gospels present us with a picture of a 
glorious Christ, the mythic gospels with that of a con- 
temptible one. In our Gospels He exhibits a superhuman 
wisdom ; in the mythic ones a nearly equal superhuman 
absurdity. In our Gospels He is arrayed in all the 
beauty of holiness ; in the mythic ones this aspect of 
character is entirely wanting. In our Gospels not one 
stain of sinfulness denies His character ; in the mythic 
ones the Boy Jesus is both pettish and malicious. Our 
Gospels exhibit to us a sublime morality ; not one ray 
of it shines in those of the mythologists. The miracles 
of the one and of the other stand contrasted on every 
point" (Kow). 

These spurious gospels were written by men who lived 
not long after the apostolic age ; by Christians who 
wished to honor the Saviour in all they said about Him ; 
by men who had the portraiture of Him before them 
which the Gospels supply. And yet these men, better 
taught, many of them, than the Apostles, with the advan- 
tage of two or three centuries of Christian thought and 
study, could not attempt a fancy sketch of the Child 
Jesus, without violating our sense of propriety and shock- 
ing our moral sense. The distance between the Gospels 
of the New Testament and the pseudo-gospels is meas- 
ured by the distance between the product of the Spirit of 
God, and that of the fallen human mind. 

Let us take one other illustration. The present cen- 
tury has been very fruitful in the production of what are 
commonly called " Lives of Christ." Contrast with the 



THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 281 

Gospel records four such " Lives "; perhaps the completest 
and best, taken altogether, of those written by English- 
speaking people, are Andrews', Geikie's, Hanna's, and 
Edersheim's. 

The authors of our Gospels had no models on which to 
frame their work. The path they trod had never before 
been pressed by human feet. The authors of the " Lives " 
have not only these incomparable narratives as their pat- 
tern and the chief source of all their material, but num- 
berless other such " Lives " suggestive as to form and 
construction, and the research and culture of eighteen 
centuries lying behind them. But would any one ven- 
ture for a moment to set these " Lives " forth as rivals of 
our Gospels ? 

Much information and real helpfulness are to be de- 
rived from the devout labors of these Christian scholars. 
If an opinion of the relative value of them may be ex- 
pressed, it may be said that Andrews' " Life " excels for 
accuracy in questions of chronology and topography; 
Edersheim's and Geikie's, for thorough acquaintance with 
the Times of the Advent ; and Hanna's, for spirituality 
and clear insight into the character of Jesus. But how 
far below our Gospels each and all of them fall, it is need- 
less to show. 

Let the contrast likewise be noted as to size or bulk. 
Planna's book contains over 2,100 pages; Edersheim's, 
1,500; Geikie's, over 1,200; and Andrews', 615 pages. 
The four combined have no less than 5,490 pages enough 
in these busy days to require months of reading to go but 
once through their contents, 

Bagster's Bible prints the four Gospels in 82 pages; 
the Oxford, in 104; and the Revision (Old and New Tes- 
taments, 8vo,) in 88 pages. In the Bagster, Matthew 
has but 23 ; Mark, 15 ; Luke, 25 ; and John, 19. 
Less than one hundred pages of the four Gospels against 



282 THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 

more than .five thousand four hundred of the four 
"Lives"! 

Countless volumes and tomes, great and small, in the 
form of commentary, exposition, notes, harmony, and 
history, are written on these four brief records. How 
happens it that such stores of wisdom and knowledge lie 
garnered in these short pieces ? Who taught the Evan- 
gelists this superhuman power of expansion and contrac- 
tion, of combination and separation, of revelation in the 
words and more revelation below the words? Who 
taught them so to describe the person and work, of the 
Lord Jesus as that the description satisfies the most 
illiterate and the most learned, is adapted to minds of 
the most limited capacity, and to those of the widest 
grasp ? Where did they derive the infinite skill they 
display in grouping together events, discourses, and ac- 
tions in such fashion, that vividly before us, is the death- 
less beauty of a perfect Life ? There is but one answer 
to these questions, there can be no other. The Spirit of 
the living God filled their minds with His unerring wis- 
dom, and He controlled their human speech. To that 
creative Spirit who has peopled the world with living 
creatures so minute that only the microscope can reveal 
their presence, it is not hard to give us in so brief a com- 
pass the sublime portrait of the Son of Man. To men it 
is impossible. 

Now, if the Holy Spirit be the real Author of the four 
Gospels, He is as certainly the Author of the rest of the 
New Testament. For all the later communications con- 
tained in the Acts, the Epistles, and the Apocalypse are 
found in germ form in the Gospels, just as the Pentateuch 
holds in germ the rest of the Old Testament. The revela- 
tion contained in the Gospels does not bear the character 
of finality. It seems to need and to promise further light 
to be given without which our knowledge of Jesus and 



THE MORAL GLOR Y OF JESUS. 283 

His perfect work would be slender indeed. The immense 
significance of His life, death, resurrection, and ascension 
could no more be drawn out by the unaided human mind, 
even with the Gospels in its possession, than could man 
grow a seed into perfection without sun, earth, and moist- 
ure. He who created the seed is alone competent to un- 
fold it into mature fruit. 

The opening words of Acts are striking and deeply 
suggestive : " The former treatise have I made, O The- 
ophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, 
until the day in which He was taken up ": words the plain 
import of which is, that what Jesus began in His minis- 
try on earth He continued after He was taken up. His 
teaching while here was not final : it was, we may rever- 
ently say, introductory. Its completion awaited His glo- 
rious ascension. And when He went on high He fulfilled 
His promise .and sent down the Holy Spirit, whose great 
office it was to finish the revelations of the Lord Jesus, and 
to inaugurate and carry forward the Christian dispensation. 

Furthermore, if we admit the inspiration of the New, 
we must likewise concede the inspiration of the Old 
Testament. For, if any one thing has been established 
by the study and research of Christian scholars beyond 
peradventure and beyond dispute, it is this: that the 
Scriptures of the Old Testament contain in germ form 
the entire revelation of the New. That epoch-making 
man, Augustine, spoke as truly as profoundly, when he 
said : "Novum Testamentum in vetere latet^ Yetus in 
JVovo patet " " The New Testament lies concealed in the 
Old, and the Old stands revealed in the New." 

If any man deny the inspiration of the Old Testament, 
logically he must also deny that of the New; for the two 
are inseparably bound up together. If one fall, so must 
the other. A body started upon a sloping path is not 
likely to stand still. 



284: THE MORAL GLORY OF JESUS. 

Christ is the centre of all Scripture as He is the centre 
of all God's counsels. The four Evangelists take up the 
life and character of Jesus as these actually appeared 
among men, and they place them alongside of the Messiah 
as sketched by the prophets, the historical by the side ol 
the prophetic, and they show how precisely and exactly 
the two match. So long as the four Gospels remain, so 
long is the doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures 
unassailable. 

God spake to the fathers in the prophets: He now 
speaks to us in His Son. In either case, whether by the 
prophets or by the Son, the Speaker is God. 



THE CANON OF SCKIPTUKE. 

TALBOT W. CHAMBERS, D.D. 

THE question I am to treat is the Canon of Scripture, 
or in other words, what books actually belong to the Bi- 
ble. The subject is of no small importance, for if the 
Scriptures be, as all evangelical men admit, the rule ot 
faith and the guide to practice ; if they be or contain a 
revelation from God, we need to know whether the book 
which we receive and hold as the Bible really deserves 
that character. Error or even uncertainty here would be 
a serious drawback on Christian peace and progress. And 
the more, as it is not infrequently asserted that the con- 
fidence of believers is misplaced ; that the different works 
embraced in the sacred volume have found admission 
there on insufficient grounds, while some have been left 
out which had as good a right as any others to be in the 
collection ; and that therefore there is need of a critical 
estimate in each case in order to revise our conclusions and 
determine afresh what is and what is not part and parcel 
of the Bible. That this view, by whatever great names it 
is sustained, is shallow and unscientific, will, I trust, be 
made to appear in the course of the discussion that fol- 
lows. 

Among Christians, opinions are divided first and mainly 
by the answers they give to the question, What is the 
rule by which we are to determine the canonical authority 
either of the Scripture as a whole or of any part of it ? 
The; e answers may be reduced to three. Some say it is 
the Church that gives the requisite authority to the Canon ; 

(385) 



286 THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

others maintain that it is dimna fides, or the witness of 
the Holy Spirit, the author of the word, in the heart of 
the believer; while a third class insist that historical tra- 
dition is the only sufficient basis. And it is clear that 
these views are mutually exclusive. If a man holds one, 
he must renounce the others. If one claim that the 
Church has authority in the premises, he cannot consist- 
ently impeach that authority by appealing to something 
else. So, if he hold to the witness of the Spirit and in- 
sists that thus his faith has a divine foundation which 
alone is adequate, he is debarred from any support that is 
distinctively human ; otherwise he renounces his princi- 
ple. In like manner the effort to establish the Canon by 
an appeal to the testimony of those who first received the 
sacred books and their successors implies that neither the 
objective ground of the Church's authority nor the sub- 
jective ground of divina fides is a sufficient basis for our 
faith that what we receive as Scripture is really entitled 
to that name. 

I. It is an opinion widely diffused through Christendom 
that we depend upon the authority of the Church for the 
determination of the Canon. This is the view of the 
Greek and Roman Catholics, and of not a few in the 
Church of England and its daughter in this country. 
The great Latin father, Augustine, is on record as saying, 
" For my part I should not believe the Gospel except as 
moved by the authority of the Catholic Church " (" Contra 
Epis. Manich. Quam Vocant Fundamentum" chap. 5), 
and although Calvin endeavors ("Institutes," L, vii. 3) to 
show that Augustine is speaking only of a supposed case 
of a person knowing nothing of the matter and therefore 
dependent upon human testimony, he hardly makes out 
his position.* Yet, in another of his writings (" De Doct. 

* Prof. Henry B. Smith says that the saying ' ' is fairly in- 
terpreted as meaning, not that the Church gave authority to the 



THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

Christ.," ii. 12, 13), Augustine certainly speaka of the, 
canonical Scriptures as depending not on the authority 
of the Church, but on the witness of the several churches, 
the weight and influence of which as well as their num- 
bers are to be counted by whoever wishes to be a wise 
student of the divine Scriptures. And Jerome seems to 
have been of the same opinion. But the Council of Trent 
settled the question for Rome in a summary way, and pro- 
nounced the usual anathema against all who held the con- 
trary. And all Romanists now would say, as the learned 
Dr. Doyle once said in regard to another matter, " The 
Church has spoken at Trent, causa est finita" It is to 
be observed that the reference here is not to the testimony 
of various bodies of believers in different places as wit- 
nesses in respect to the writings which they received as 
apostolic and inspired, and which therefore were regarded 
as having a divine sanction, for this is a matter upon 
which there need be no difference of opinion. But when 
men speak of receiving the Scriptures on the authority of 
the Church, what they mean is the deliberate voice of the 
Church as a great corporate organization, acting through 
the decision of its chief officials, which may be a general 
council, or the Bishop of Rome as successor of Peter. (1). 
The first and obvious objection to this theory is that it is 
a notable specimen of what is called reasoning in a circle. 
For we cannot determine the claims of the Church ex- 
cept by the declarations of Scripture, and yet we are to 
go to the Church to learn what Scripture is. Clearly, no 
progress can be made by proceeding in this way. In 
each case the question is begged in advance, and at the 
conclusion we are just where we were at the beginning. 
(2). We desire to know how the heads of the Church, 
whether one or many, reach their conclusion and are able 



Scriptures, but gave to Augustine his authority for receiving 
them " ("Introduction to Christian Theology," p. 192). 



THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

to pronounce authoritatively upon the subject. It must 
be by an immediate revelation from heaven or by their 
study of the facts in the case. If it be the former, then 
it is a private matter, known only to themselves and not 
established to us by any proof, and therefore in no de- 
gree entitled to our confidence or obedience. If it be the 
latter, then the same sources of information are open to 
us, and we may apply ourselves to them humbly and pa- 
tiently in the expectation that the divine guidance and 
blessing will not be withheld. (3). We find nowhere in 
what purports to be Scripture any reference to the Church 
as the arbiter of such a question. As the mystical body 
of Christ, the Church is inexpressibly dear to Him, but He 
has committed to her no such authority as is here claimed. 
The oft-quoted expression, " Hear the Church " (Matthew 
xviii. 17), has reference to the settlement of a private dis- 
pute between individuals, and is merely a statement as to 
the exercise of discipline and one that is essential to the 
preservation of a society, but it bears not even remotely 
upon the determination of points of faith. (4). Moreover, it 
the voice of ecclesiastical authority is to settle the Canon, 
one may well wonder why it was not heard at any earlier 
period. No such voice was uttered for the first fourteen 
centuries of the Christian era. Numerous oecumenical 
councils were held from Nicsea to Basle, yet not one of 
them took up the subject. It was not until 1441 that 
Pope Eugenius broke the long silence of ecclesiastics by 
promulgating on his own authority a list of the books ot 
Scripture, being impelled to this doubtless by the terrible 
confusions of that period. This list was faithfully repro- 
duced a century afterward by the Council of Trent. But 
these were novel procedures. During all the fourteen 
centuries that preceded, the people of God, whatever 
their conflicts and trials, seem never to have felt any 
need of an authoritative decision on the limits of Scrip- 



THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

ture. The question was often discussed and there weVe 
various opinions, but no one thought of having an exact 
definition imposed upon clergy or laity. And if before 
the division of Christendom a decree of this kind was not 
sought or made, still less is there need to look for it in 
the stormy days which succeeded the revival of letters in 
the fifteenth century. All that any number of churches 
could do now would be to reaffirm a conclusion already 
reached on other and independent grounds. 

II. When the Reformers, in the 16th century, broke 
with Rome, they of course rejected the authority of the 
Church as an arbiter of the Canon. What they adopted 
instead of this was divina fides, or the spiritual perception 
of the believer. The view was formulated in the Gallican 
Confession in these words. After stating the books by 
name, it says: "We know these books to be canonical 
and the sure rule of our faith, not so much by the com- 
mon accord and consent of the Church as by the testi- 
mony and inward illumination of the Holy Spirit which 
enables us to distinguish them from other ecclesiastical 
books upon which, however useful, we cannot found any 
articles of faith." It was thought that in this way the 
faith of the Church in its sacred books was taken off from 
any human foundation, and placed upon one that was 
simply and purely divine. But such a notion certainly con- 
founded things that differ. It is one thing to know by 
the immediate action of the divine Spirit upon the heart 
that the great features of the Gospel are true, so that 
plain men, comparing their own experience with what is 
stated to them, may feel as sure of the saving truths of 
the Gospel as if they heard them announced by a voice 
from heaven ; but it is quite another thing to be con- 
vinced that all the books of the Bible are divine, and to 
be able, by the inward witness of the Spirit, to discrimi- 
nate the canonical books from the apocryphal. The for- 



290 THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

mer is a matter of every -day experience, and has been seen 
times without number in all ages of the Church ; but the 
latter has never been verified, indeed is incapable of ver- 
ification. Most candid men would agree with Richard 
Baxter, who said (" Saint's Rest," Preface to Part II.) : " I 
confess for my own part I could never boast of any such 
testimony or light of the Spirit, nor reason neither, which, 
without human testimony or tradition, would have made 
me believe that the Book of Canticles is canonical, and 
written by Solomon, and the Book of Wisdom apocryphal, 
and written by Philo, as some think. Nor could I have 
known all or any historical books, such as Joshua, Judges, 
Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiab, etc., 
to be written by divine inspiration, but by tradition. 
Nor could I know any or all of those books to be God's 
word, which contain mere positive constitutions, as Exo- 
dus, Leviticus, etc., were it not for the same tradition." 

The same point has been expressed in this way, by an 
American divine of the last generation : " Suppose that a 
thousand books of various kinds, including the canonical, 
were placed before any sincere Christian, would he be 
able, without mistake, to select from this mass the twenty- 
seven books of which the New Testament is composed, 
if he had nothing to guide him but the internal evidence? 
Would every such person be able, at once, to determine 
whether the book of JSoclesiastes, or of EoGlesiast'icus, be- 
longed to the canon of the Old Testament, by internal 
evidence alone ? It is certain that the influence of the 
Holy Spirit is necessary to produce a true faith in the 
word of God ; but to make this the only criterion by 
which to judge of the canonical authority of a bock, is 
liable to strong objections." * The truth is, that, while 



* The late Archibald Alexander, D.D., in. his work, " The 
Canon of Lhe Old and New Testaments Ascertained." 



THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 291 

professing to base the acceptance of the Canon upon a 
divine foundation, it really puts it upon one that is essen- 
tially human, and therefore variable and uncertain, be- 
cause men differ so widely in their states of mind at dif- 
ferent times and places. 

The Reformers were illustrious servants of God, and 
accomplished a most important work in His service. But 
even they did not learn a all the truth." Almost without 
exception they maintained that it was the duty of the 
civil magistrate to uphold and defend the interests of re- 
ligion, and yet now it is one of the commonplaces of 
Christians that the alliance of Church and State is injuri- 
ous to both. It is not presumptuous, therefore, to chal- 
lenge any one of their opinions, and subject it to a close 
examination in the light of Scripture, reason, and experi- 
ence. The test of canonicity which they felt themselves 
constrained to adopt in their controversy with Rome, is, 
we -think, open to very grave objections. 

1. It needlessly disparages the principle of exercising 
faith upon adequate evidence, by which AVC arrive at the 
knowledge of the existence of God (a point which is as- 
sumed in the Scriptures, as indeed it must be in whatever 
claims to be a revelation from heaven), and by which the 
whole business of life is carried on. If such faith be stig- 
matized as merely human, and therefore imperfect and 
unsatisfactory, what else is this but a reflection upon Him 
who so constituted us that our lives are governed by con 
elusions drawn from probable evidence, e. g., as to the 
facts of history, the laws of the land, the existence of 
persons or places we have never seen, etc. The objective 
evidence in favor of the Canon, as furnished in the writ- 
ings of the primitive believers, in the general voice of 
Christendom, in the confessions of acknowledged heretics, 
and in the attacks of pagan opposers of the truth, is a solid 
basis of faith, which it is very unwise either to depreciate 



292 THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

or to ignore. As Dr. William Cunningham sa t ys : "Tho 
evidence of the Canon, i. e., the proof of the canonical au- 
thority of the particular books of Scripture, is analogous 
to the evidence of the truth of Christianity. They are 
both, in a sense, matters of fact, and to be investigated 
and decided, in the first instance, upon the ordinary prin- 
ciples and grounds applicable to matters of fact" (" The- 
ological Lectures," p. 444). Any theory which sets aside 
this method of arriving at truth as invalid or untrustwor- 
thy, weakens the foundations of all faith, and plays into 
the hands of the adversary. 

9 2. Practically, this rule makes each individual believer 
the framer of his own Canon, for it says that the divine 
authority of Scripture is self-evidencing, only a man must 
be renewed to sea and feel this evidence. Bat all truly 
regenerate men are not equally enlightened, and it is 
quite conceivable that a difference in the degree of their 
spiritual perception would make a difference in the num- 
ber of the books they would receive. Personal convic- 
tion, on the divina fides theory, is all in all, and where 
this fails, divine authority and binding obligation fail 
with it, for each man has a right to appeal to the witness 
of the Spirit in his own heart. Others may differ from 
him, but this fact gives them no right to dictate to him. 
So that, in its ultimate result, this theory really sets up 
the intuitions of man above what is claimed for the writ- 
ten revelation of God. Such a result was not contem- 
plated by its framers, and would have been rejected by 
them with horror, yet it is a legitimate outcome of the 
principle. 

3. The theory, again, denies any certain Bible to the 
unregenerate. The evidence for the Canon is, indeed, 
abundant and clear, but he, in the nature of the case, is 
unable to see it. His spiritual eyes have not been clari- 
fied by grace, and all the abundant indications of the 



THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 293 

divine origin and claims of the Bible are to him just as 
though they did not exist. Surely, this is not in accord- 
ance with fact. There are now, as for a long time there 
have been, many persons destitute of a saving interest in 
Christ, and yet intellectually convinced that the common 
Bible is what it claims to be. Such persons have no dif- 
ficulty at all with the Canon. Whether from early train- 
ing, or reflection, or observation, or the operations of 
natural conscience, they have become perfectly satisfied 
that the Scriptures are a revelation from God, and wor- 
thy of all acceptation, although they do not personally 
accept and confess the Lord Jesus ; surely, one has no 
right to say that these persons are not believers in the 
Canon. And if we do say it, at what a sore disadvantage 
are we placed when pressing upon them the claims of the 
Gospel ! All that is necessary for them to say in reply 
to the most urgent appeal, would be to affirm that they, 
not having the testimony of the Holy Ghost in their 
hearts to the divine authority of the Canon, had not, and 
could not have, any reason to accept a conclusion which 
can be reached only in this way. 

It was an error in the same direction when Coleridge 
made it a test of the divine word whether it appealed to 
his moral and spiritual nature with sufficient force. 
" Whatever finds me," he said, " bears witness for itself 
that it has proceeded from a Holy Spirit." But this sub- 
jects the divine to the human, and makes every man a 
judge in his own case. Is a doctrine, a precept, a senti- 
ment, a narrative unwelcome to him ? Then all that it 
is necessary for him to say is, that he does not feel it, it 
does not find him. But the fault may be his own. He 
is so depraved or perverted, so sensual or worldly-mind- 
ed, that the truth has no power over him, and thus sin 
becomes its own excuse. This is the inevitable difficulty 
whenever the Bible is to be tried simply by a subjective 



THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

test. Such tests have their use in particular instances, 
and often render a strong confirmation to a believer's faith, 
but they cannot of themselves furnish the basis of decis- 
ion, and settle the question once for all. 

The divina fides theory was, as has been said, adopted 
by all, or nearly all, the Reformers, and incorporated 
more or less distinctly into all the confessions of the six- 
teenth century. But it by no means continued to have 
the same acceptance in subsequent times. Stillingfleet 
(" Origines Sacrse," ii. 8) maintains, distinctly in opposi- 
tion to any such requirement, that, " where there is any 
infallible testimony, there is sufficient rational evidence 
going along with it, to make it appear that* it is from 
God." The judicious Hooker expresses himself to the 
same effect in his " Ecclesiastical Polity," Book 3, chap, 
viii. (ad finem). I have already cited the opinion of 
Baxter, and of Principal Cunningham, the latter of whom 
also says that " the sentiments of Baxter on this subject 
are quoted and sanctioned by Dr. Chalmers." In Prin- 
cipal Hill's " Lectures in Divinity," the Canon is treated, 
but not a word is uttered regarding the divine-faith the- 
ory. In the u Lectures " of Dr. John Dick, it is expressly 
repudiated. He does not deny that men may have the 
witness in themselves of the truth of the Gospel. " But 
observe," he adds, " that this evidence could go no far- 
ther than to satisfy them that those doctrines and prom- 
ises were from God, by which they were enlightened, 
sanctified, comforted, and inspired with more than hu- 
man courage, and with the triumphant hope of immor- 
tality. How could it convince them that all the books 
of the Bible are divine! How could it enable them to 
distinguish, as the French Church pretends, between the 
canonical and the apocryphal books?" 

Contemporary writers on dogmatics hold the same 
view. Thus, Van Oosterzee (" Christ. Dogin.," i. 174), 



THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 295 

after citing the words of the Belgic Confession on the 
point, says : " But, as we have seen, the Holy Ghost 
gives, indeed, testimony to the believer as to the saving 
revelation contained in the Scripture, yet not on this ac- 
count necessarily to every single part, and just as little 
to the Bible en ~bloc. For us, therefore, the question as 
to the value to be attached to the collection contained in 
the Canon is, and remains, a purely historical question ; 
the Church, through the medium of which we received it, 
exists for us, not as an infallible authority, but as a ven- 
erable witness to the truth." Dr. Harold Brown, the 
Bishop of Ely, in his " Exposition of the XXXIX Arti- 
cles," says on this subject (vi. 2): " We have only to in- 
quire what writings were apostolical ; and for this pur- 
pose we have recourse to testimony, or, if the word be 
preferred, to tradition." . . . . " The Church of England 
is not satisfied to rest her faith solely on the authority of 
any council ; neither can she consent to forego all exter- 
nal testimony, and trust to an internal witness alone, 
knowing that, as Satan can transform himself into an 
angel of light, so it is possible that what seems the guid- 
ance of God's Spirit may, if not proved, be really the 
suggestion of evil spirits." 

The testimony of theologians of our own country is to 
the same effect. Dr. Enoch Pond, of Bangor, in his 
" Lectures," treats the whole subject on a historical basis. 
The eminent Dr. Charles Hodge says (" Theology," i. 
153), after giving the usual argument for the Old Testa- 
ment : " The principle on which the canon of the New 
Testament is determined is equally simple. Those books 
and those only which can be proved to have been written 
by the apostles, .or to have received their sanction, are 
to be recognized as of divine authority." His distin- 
guished son, the late A. A. Hocl^e, who so worthily filled 
his father's place, upholds this view in the posthumous 



296 THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

volume, " Popular Lectures on Theological Themes " (pp. 
76-7). He says that the rule is that any book written 
by an apostle, or received generally as canonical by the 
Church during the age in which it was presided over and 
instructed by the apostles, is to be regarded as canonical. 
He expressly denies the validity of " Christian conscious- 
ness" in the matter, and says no book can be admitted 
to the Canon except on the ground of explicit and suffi- 
cient historical proof. Nor in the whole context is there 
any reference whatever to the subjective ground. The 
equally eminent Dr. Henry B. Smith ("Introduction to 
Christian Theology, 7 ' pp. 190-191) says as to the proof of 
canonical authority: "What we must regard is the spe- 
cific evidence from competent sources that such and such 
books and no others have been received as being the word 
of God to man." In regard to the witness of the Spirit, 
he asks: "How do we know that we have the Spirit? 
The Spirit must be tried by the Word. The conviction 
as to the divine authority of certain writings, which 
spread itself through the primitive Church, and which 
furnishes the leading proof of the canonicity of those 
writings, should not be confounded with the inward per- 
suasion of their authority which the Holy Spirit produces 
on individual minds." The latest important work on 
Systematic Theology, produced in our country, that 
of Dr. A. II. Strong, (Rochester, 1886,) takes the same 
ground. " We do not receive the Scriptures upon the 
authority of Fathers or Councils, but only as the Fathers 
and Councils received them, because we have evidence 
that they are the writings of the men, or class of men, 
whose names they bear, and that they are also credible 
and inspired." " We show their genuineness as w r e 
would show the genuineness of other religious books, like 
tho Koran, or of secular documents, like Cicero's Ora- 
tions against Cataline." 



THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 297 

Indeed, the consensus of modern divines in all the 
evangelical bodies seems to be complete in the rejection 
of the view of the Reformers, who took no account of the 
general voice of Christendom, and acted as though each 
solitary man were brought to weigh for himself the claims 
of a new book. The only exception of importance is 
Professor C. A. Briggs, who, in his recent acute and 
learned work, entitled ''Biblical Study," (pp. 108, 123, 
203,) reaffirms, in the strongest form, the subjective prin- 
ciple, calls it " the true Puritan mystic," and declares that 
" this was the so-called formal principle of the Reformation, 
no less important than the so-called material principle of 
justification by faith." We have no disposition to ques- 
tion its claim to the former character, whatever that may 
mean, but the latter part of the assertion is an evident 
mistake. The formal principle of the Reformation was 
not any particular method of settling the Canon, but the 
Bible itself, the living oracles of God, as distinguished on 
one hand from the traditions of men, however learned or 
wise or venerable, and on the other from all forms of vis- 
ionary enthusiasm in men claiming to have an immediate 
personal revelation from heaven.* All the Reformers, 



* ' ' Luther was led to the 'material principle of Protestantism, 
viz., justification by faith, which is the central point for the 
right understanding- of the development of the whole Protest- 
ant system of theology. With this is connected the breaking 
away from the authority of the Church, and the subjection to 
the authority of Scripture, or the formal principle of the 
Reformation. Both principles belong together." (Hagenbach's 
"History of Doctrines," vol. ii., p. 141). 

' ' The doctrinal principle of evangelical Protestantism as dis- 
tinct from Romanism, is twofold objective and subjective. 
The objective (generally called the formal) principle, maintains 
the absolute sovereignty of the Bible as the only infallible rule 
of faith and life, in opposition to the Roman doctrine of the 
Bible and tradition, as co-ordinate rules of faith. Tradition 



298 THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

with one voice, declared this to be the only norm, and 
the primary source of saving truth, and for this they con- 
tended to the last, and with the greatest vehemence. But, 
surely, it is a sad confusion to substitute for this great 
granite foundation, upon which everything rests, a mere 
statement of the way to determine what books belong to 
the Old Testament and the New. The latter is, indeed, 
interesting and important, but the former was the logical 
basis of the whole movement, that without which the 
Reformation would have died in its cradle. 

III. The true method of ascertaining the Canon is that 
of Historical Tradition. This was the course pursued 
for centuries by the early Church, and what answered their 
purposes will surely answer ours. The same rule applies 
to both Testaments. We learn from the Christian Scrip- 
tures the existence and character of the Old Testament, 
but they furnish no list of the books of which it is com- 
posed. But this deficiency is completely supplied from 
trustworthy sources, one of which is Josephus. a native 
historian, who lived in the first century of oui*era, and 
who gives an exact statement of the sacred books, which 
he claims have come down from their authors without in- 
crease, diminution, or alteration, and which, he says, "all 
Jews are instinctively led from their birth to regard as the 
decrees of God, and to abide by them, and, if need be, 
gladly to die for them." The catalogue which he gives 
corresponds with the one now current among us. The 



is not set aside altogether, but subordinated, and its value made 
to depend upon the measure of its agreement with the Word of 
God. The subjective (commonly called the material) princi- 
ple, is the doctrine by the free grace of God through a living 
faith in Christ as the only and sufficient Saviour in opposition 
to the Roman doctrine of (progressive) justification by faith 
and good works as co-ordinate conditions of justification." 
(Schaff's "Creeds of Christendom," vol. i., p. 206). 



CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 299 

same account k given by the other witness, Philo, an 
Alexandrian Jew, who flourished in the same century, and 
is well known by his philosophical writings. Neither of 
these men was ignorant that there were numerous other 
writings which made some claim to biblical authority, but 
they drew a sharp line of distinction between them and 
the genuine sacred books. These testimonies, strong and 
sufficient in themselves, are sustained by other considera- 
tions drawn from Jewish tradition, from the language of 
the so-called apocryphal books, from their substance and 
character, and from the utterances of the Christian Fathers ; 
but it is not necessary to go into details on this point or 
discuss the many interesting questions it brings up. The 
Old Testament is so largely sustained by the New, not 
only as the latter involves the former throughout, but also 
in the way of various and repeated quotation, that it is of 
primary importance to maintain the canonical authority 
of the Greek. Scriptures, since this carries with it that of the 
Hebrew. 

In regard to the New Testament the case is by no 
means so simple as it is with the older book. The rule to 
be applied here is, that " Every book is genuine which was 
so esteemed by those who lived nearest to the time when 
it was written, and by the ages following in a continued 
series." There are not many who dispute the intrinsic 
reasonableness of this rule, but there are many who deny 
that its application will bring out the result which we 
claim i. e., the indisputable canonicity of the New Testa- 
ment as we have it to-day. Every inch of ground in the 
first three centuries has been fought over again and again, 
and the din of battle has not yet ceased, nor indeed is 
it likely soon to come to an end. Passions and preju- 
dices are enlisted, and so much depends upon the issue 
that it can hardly be pursued with an impartial mind. 
Of course, in a paper of this kind, a full and minute dis- 



300 THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

cussion cannot be carried on. All that is aimed at is to 
give an outline of the argument. 

We maintain that the Canon can be successfully estab- 
lished from the testimony of those to whom the various 
inspired writings were originally delivered. JBy this, of 
course, it is not claimed, as some seem to have imagined, 
that there was an official list of sacred writings made by 
the apostles themselves or the last survivor of them. The 
books of the New Testament came into existence at vari- 
ous times and places under the guidance of Providence. 
The propagation of the Gospel was, in the first instance, 
and for many years, made orally, arid with the use only 
of the Old Testament as written Scripture. In the course 
of time there grew up a series of compositions, whether 
narrative or epistolary, which were regarded by those into 
whose hands they came as of divine origin and authority. 
By these they were communicated to others, and thus 
gradually they came to be universally recognized as the 
standard of faith and practice. These writings were all 
completed by the end of the first century, having proceeded 
from the pen of apostles, or of apostolical men ; that is, 
men under the influence and guidance of the apostles. 
But there was no official determination of their number or 
character made at that early period. As Reuss tells us, 
" There is not the least doubt that the apostles, and, as a 
rule, the Christians of their time, held the law and the 
prophets to be divinely inspired, and therefore held the 
words of Scripture to be not the words of men, but the 
words of God." * This fact, indeed, is apparent on the 
face of the New Testament, and becomes the more cer- 
tain the more carefully its pages are studied. And the 
notion of inspiration then held included all the elements 
of excellence and of absoluteness which have been given 



* "History of the Canon," Eng. trans., p. 12. 



THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 301 

to it in any later definitions. Now, it was just this notion 
of the inspiration of the Old Testament that came in time 
to be attached to the New. No central power that we 
know of regulated or controlled the circulation of the 
documents belonging to the early Church. But it is nat- 
ural to suppose that Christian people would desire to pos- 
sess authentic memorials of the wonderful life of Him 
whose name they bore, and copies of the letters written 
by His apostles; and neither the cost of manuscript 
copies nor the difficulty of communication between differ- 
ent parts of the Roman world was so great as has some- 
times been supposed. 

We have some remains of what were called the Apos- 
tolic Fathers, Clement of Koine, Polycarp of Smyrna, 
and Ignatius of Antioch, between the years 90 and 130, 
by which we learn that the writings of the apostles had 
not only extended beyond the narrow circle of their origin, 
but were already exercising a marked influence on the 
teaching. In them we find mention of certain Epistles 
of Paul, and also of the evangelic history and of certain 
words of Jesus, the two being commonly called the Gos- 
pel and the Epistle. In this appeal to written records is 
the fruitful germ of the deference subsequently paid to 
the New Testament writers. It is not contended that 
these Apostolic Fathers had a complete Canon in their 
hands. That may or may not have been the case. The 
recognition of the Canon was doubtless as gradual as its 
formation had been. All that we are concerned to establish 
is that these Fathers had New Testament authorities to 
which they referred as genuine and decisive. The Old 
Testament was already in their possession, and they had 
long been accustomed to use it in public and in private; 
but now they had something more, to wit, the Christian 
truth contained in Christ's life, whether conveyed orally 
or in writing, and the instructions of the apostles as given 



302 THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

either in epistles or the traditional arrangements they had 
made in the churches. 

Passing from these fathers to their successors, the Apolo- 
gists of the second century (from 130 to 180), we find ex- 
plicit testimony to the existence of distinct parts of the 
sacred Canon. Papias refers' to the Gospels of Matthew 
and Mark, to the first Epistles of John and of Peter, and 
to the Apocalypse of John. He is said indeed to have 
been, although bishop of Hieropolis, a weak-minded and 
garrulous, old man, which rnay be the fact, but does not 
affect his testimony, for " weakness of intellect does not 
enable one to speak of books as existing which are not in 
existence." The author of the beautiful relic of antiquity 
known as the Epistle to Diognetus, refers distinctly to the 
Gospels as, along with the law and the prophets, a regular 
source of faith and instruction. He also refers, though 
less distinctly, to the apostles in the same way. From 
Justin Martyr, the first of the apologists, we learn that 
there were extant in his day memoirs written by the 
apostles and their companions, that these were called 
Gospels and were regarded as authoritative, and that it 
was a common custom in Christian congregations to read 
these memoirs on Sunday along with the Old Testament 
prophets. Living as he did only forty years after the 
death of the last apostle, his testimony is particularly 
valuable as proving that at least the first two Gospels were 
in his day in general circulation and use. As he is simply 
making a defensive argument against the calumnies under 
which Christians were suffering, he does not quote the 
Gospels by the titles in use among Christians, because 
that was not required ; but he certainly does refer to these 
productions, and his testimony as that of a man of liberal 
culture who travelled far and wide to spread the truth, 
must have great weight, Contemporaneous with Justin 
is a document known as the Muratorian Fragment, first 



THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 303 

published in 1740. It was found in the Ambrosian Li- 
brary, at Milan, in a volume of Latin fragments which 
dates apparently from the eighth century. This one was 
copied from a MS. of much higher antiquity, the writer 
of which speaks of himself as a contemporary of Pius, 
bishop of Korne in the second century, and it is now ad- 
mitted on all hands that the date is somewhere between 
160 and 170 A.D. It is written in barbarous Latin, and 
is mutilated at both ends. But its scope is clear. It gives 
a list of the sacred writings which were then acknowl- 
edged in the churches. It begins with Luke, but calling 
him " the third," plainly shows that the earlier portion, 
which has been torn off, contained Matthew and Mark. 
After giving account of the Gospels and the Acts, it pro- 
ceeds to enumerate thirteen epistles of Paul, nine of them 
addressed to churches and four to individuals. Then it 
mentions two epistles of John and the epistle of Jude, 
and also the Apocalypse of John. Thus it includes every 
book of the existing Canon, save the epistle to the He- 
brews, the epistle of James, the first one of John and 
the first and second of Peter. Why these are omitted it 
is not easy to say, for it is certain that in his notice -of 
John's Gospel, he quotes a passage taken from his first 
epistle, yet he does not mention it by name. The incom- 
plete statement may be owing to the mutilation of the 
text, which seems to be made up of detached pieces. But 
whatever be the cause, the fact itself deducts but little 
from the value of this first catalogue of the sacred books 
of the New Covenant. Whoever the author was, he is 
not setting forth his own individual views, but stating 
what is the usage in his ecclesiastical sphere, naming the 
books which were received in the Catholic Church, and 
some of those (Ep. to the Laodiceans and another to the 
Alexandrians, etc.) which were rejected. It is true the 
document is in no sense official, but is simply the account 



304 THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

of a witness. But this fact does not derogate from its 
value as a trustworthy representation of the common 
opinion of believers of its day. 

There are those who insist that if there be a Canon at 
all, it shall be one regularly drawn up by the apostles, 
and given to the world with their official sanction. But 
we answer, that this was not God's method in the com- 
position of the Old Testament. Its constituent parts 
were given to the people from time to time, in each case 
with satisfactory testimonials of the authority of the nar- 
rator or prophet or singer, to speak in behalf of God. 
But when these were once sent forth, it was left to the 
Church in its own discretion to gather them into a roll, 
or a volume, as the complete disclosure of God's will. 
This was done, and that in a very satisfactory manner. 
We have the living oracles as the Jews received and still 
hold them, nor is there any reason to fear that anything 
has been omitted that ought to have been inserted, or 
that the book contains anything that has no right to be 
there. Why should any different mode of procedure be 
anticipated in the new economy ? So far as appears, it 
has pleased God to pursue precisely the same course with 
the Greek Scriptures as with the Hebrew. The apostles 
and their companions (Mark and Luke, and the author ot 
the Epistle to the Hebrews), were led, under divine di- 
rection, to execute their various writings, which were au- 
thenticated satisfactorily to their first receivers (as we 
infer from the words of Paul, " The salutation of me, 
Paul, with my own hand " 1 Cor. xvi. 21 ; " The salu- 
tation of me, Paul, with my own hand, which is the token 
in every epistle" 2 Thess. iii. 17), and then were sent 
abroad among the various bodies of believers, to make 
their way by force of their own intrinsic worth and valid- 
ity. It was not at all necessary to their authority or use- 
fulness that they should be collected into a volume, or 



THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 305 

obtain the special imprimatur of some ecclesiastical as- 
sembly. Nor was such a notion thought of until after 
many centuries. In the early period, churches and 
church fathers were cited, not as authorities to say what 
should or should not be done, but as witnesses to declare 
what had been done, to bear testimony that, as a matter 
of fact, certain writings had been received as apostolic 
and inspired, and certain others had not been. It no- 
where appears that the New Testament writers had the 
design of conveying to their readers a full statement of 
the Faith. Their works are, so to speak, casual arid 
fragmentary, designed simply to meet an existing want, 
as it revealed itself in the circle of their activity. And 
yet, as we know, those writings, taken together, form a 
unique and symmetrical whole, from which no part could 
be withdrawn without impairing the unity and richness 
of the rest. This, of course, was not apparent at first. 
Experience, diversities of opinion, doctrinal errors, cor- 
ruption of life, turned the attention of the churches more 
and more to the original depositories of saving truth ; and 
partial collections of apostolic writings began to be 
formed. The Fragment of Muratori shows how far 
this movement had proceeded in his day. But in the 
course of the last quarter of the second century the mat- 
ter took a wider and more general development. Here 
we find no less than five great witnesses to the determin- 
ation of the Canon. (1). First is Irenseus, born in Asia Mi- 
nor, and trained there under Polycarp, who was a pupil 
of the apostle John. He removed to Gaul, and became 
Bishop of Lyons, where he exerted a wide influence. He 
quotes as Scripture all our present Canon, save James, 
Jude, 3 John, and 2 Peter. (2). Clement of Alexandria 
was a man of varied training and extensive knowledge, 
and famous alike for his ability and for his position as 
head of the catechetical school of his city. He quotes 



306 THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

as Scripture all our Canon, save Philemon, James, 2 and 
3 John, and 2 Peter ; but besides these, gives his sanction 
to a number of writings now deemed apocryphal. (3). In 
the neighboring province of North Africa was Tertullian, 
an able and eloquent orator, notable for his fiery zeal. 
He quoted almost identically the same books as Clement, 
and with the same respect. (4). Contemporaneous with 
them was the old Latin version of the S.S., known as the 
liala, which was made in North Africa, but two centu- 
ries afterward being superseded by Jerome's revision, 
called the Yulgate, only fragments of it now remain. 
This Old Latin version did not contain Hebrews, James, 
and 2 Peter, but otherwise was like the present Canon. 
(5). Besides this was a still older version, made in the far 
East, the Syriae Peshitto, which contained Elebrews, but 
omitted Jude, 2 and 3 John, 2 Peter, and the Apoca- 
lypse. Now, here are five witnesses, covering the greater 
part of the known world, from Lyons in Gaul, to Edessa 
near the Euphrates, and representing four or five of the 
great divisions of the Ante-Nicene Church, and they are 
all in substantial agreement as to the chief parts of the 
Canon. The Gospels, the Acts, and the Pauline Epis- 
tles are accepted by them as the work of apostolic men, 
as inspired of God, and as furnishing the rule of faith. 
Surely, the force of truth, some divine instinct, or the 
overruling hand of Providence, guided them to this re- 
markable unanimity. For no force was laid upon them, 
no external authority controlled them, but they were left 
to choose their course as seemed to them right. Yet liv- 
ing so far apart, and differing as they did in outward 
circumstances and inward characteristics, they stilJ 
reached practically the same result a result which, so 
far as its positive features are concerned, must be accept- 
ed. That is, the books which they all receive as divine, 
must be accepted by us in like manner. No valid, no 



THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 307 

plausible reason can be assigned why we should distrust 
these concurring witnesses, and no explanation of their 
substantial agreement can be given, apart from the fact 
that they drew from a common source, viz., the first re- 
ceivers of the inspired books. 

Now, in regard to the books which these parties re- 
jected, we have a full and clear statement in the words of 
Eusehius, the friend of Constantine, and the first of the 
long line of Church historians. He gives a catalogue of 
the writings of the New Testament, viz., the Gospels, the 
Acts, the (fourteen) Epistles of Paul, 1 John, 1 Peter, and 
the Apocalypse. These, he says, are the Acknowledged 
Books, received by all. Then he enumerates James, 
Jude, 2 Peter, and 2 and 3 John, as Disputed Books, 
which, although well known (and used) by most, were yet 
felt to be lacking in authority. Then he mentions a third 
class (Spurious), such as the Revelation of Peter, the 
Epistle of Barnabas, etc., which are pious and useful, but 
not canonical. To these he adds a fourth class, about 
which there was no dispute whatever, but they were to 
be set aside as worthless and impious. It is not necessary 
to trace the matter farther. As time, went on, the settle- 
ment of vexed questions on the subject became more clear 
and harmonious. Less than half a century after Eusebius, 
we find the great Athanasius giving a catalogue which in 
all respects is the same as our own, and after a century all 
differences of opinion died out, and the whole Christian 
body was of one mind on the point. The veteran critic 
and scholar, Reuss of Strasburg, recounts the list made 
by Eusebius, and then says : " This division is certainly 
very far from being scientific ; as a matter of theory and 
dogma it is even absurd." It is somewhat hard to see 
what room there is for science in settling a question of 
fact of the nature of this one, or how Eusebius lies open 
to reproach for pursuing the very course followed by all 



308 THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

the lights of the Church from the beginning. Nothing is 
more certain from all the evidence in the case than that 
individuals and churches in accepting any writing as di- 
vinely inspired, were governed by their conviction as to 
its origin. The only question they asked was: Did it 
come from men who were themselves apostles, or so as- 
sociated with apostles as to be under their influence? 
And the fact of its reception by any number of cl mrches 
was of weight only as it bore upon this point. In feet, 
for a thousand years there was no conciliar action in the 
matter. The provincial council of Laodicea (363 A.D.), 
which acted on the subject, only decreed that canonical 
books alone should be read in the churches, but did not 
determine what these were. Afterward at Carthage, in 
397, through Augustine's influence, there was a decree 
which named the books, and limited their ecclesiastical 
use, but this was not repeated anywhere else, much less 
sanctioned by any act of an oecumenical body. The whole 
question was regarded as out of the domain of conciliar 
action. The appeal was always made to tradition, to 
usage, to antiquity, and not to any decree of any eccle- 
siastical body, large or small. 

As to the Disputed Books, it does not appear that the 
doubt or hesitation in their case arose from the nature of 
their contents, but from circumstances which admitted of 
an adequate explanation and afterward received the 
same. Thus, the Epistle to the Hebrews was circulated 
without the name of its author, as it still is, and this fact, 
of course, made men chary of acknowledging its apostolical 
authority. The second and third Epistles of John were 
very short, were addressed each to an individual, and, 
therefore, might easily escape notice for a considerable 
time. The Epistle of James was addressed to the be- 
lievers of the Diaspora, who were widely scattered, but 
were mainly found in the East, and so it would naturally 



THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 3Q9 

be a long time in coming to the knowledge of the Church 
in the West. The second Epistle of Peter and the 
Epistle of Jude were apparently directed to Jewish "be- 
lievers, and were full of Hebrew memories and allusions, 
and so might have drifted into corners where they escaped 
attention. But whether these explanations be sufficient 
or not, the existence of the Antilegomena, or Disputed 
Books, is not a thing to be regretted. Rather the fact 
stands out as an undeniable evidence that the formation 
of the Canon was not a hasty enterprise, undertaken 
without deliberation, and concluded without reason, but, 
on the contrary, was conducted with all conceivable care. 
Not every writing claiming to be from an apostle's hand 
was welcomed and forthwith admitted, but there was de- 
lay and investigation, and in some cases two centuries 
elapsed before the case was closed. But it may be added, 
that even if the result had been other than it actually 
was, and the entire body of disputed books had been 
dropped as uncanonical, while our loss would have been 
serious and greatly to be lamented, it would have been 
anything but fatal. The body of the faith would have 
remained the same ; the creed would have lost none of its 
articles, and the ethics of the New Covenant would still 
have maintained their pure and lofty 'standard. But, 
blessed be God, we have not a mutilated Bible. The 
book contains all that it was intended to have. We have 
no reason to think that any inspired book was lost. The 
early believers were faithful to their high calling, and 
carefully preserved the precious deposit of living oracles 
committed to their hands, and oftentimes at sore risk and 
cost. Eusebius says that when he was young he saw, at 
Cesarea, under the persecution of Diocletian, the houses 
of Christians razed to the ground, and the sacred Scrip- 
tures consigned to the flames in the open market-place. 
The enemies of the truth were as quick then as in former 



310 THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

days to see tlie value of written documents in conserving 
the faith, and they made desperate efforts to destroy these 
title-deeds of the Christian hope. Not a few of the early 
disciples suffered death for refusing to deliver up their 
sacred books. Some, indeed, overcome by the terrors of 
a fierce persecution, did, in the hour of temptation, con- 
sent to surrender their treasures, but they bore ever after- 
ward the odious name, traditores / and it was with the 
utmost difficulty that any of them could be received again 
into the communion of the Church, even after a lono 1 

" t3 

repentance and the most humbling confession of their 
fault. We may, therefore, well believe that the effort of 
Diocletian failed as entirely as did that of Antiochus 
Epiphanes, who, centuries before, sought to accomplish a 
similar purpose in respect to the sacred volume of the 
Jews. In neither case did threats and tortures succeed. 
Neither the Old Testament nor the New, nor any portion 
of them, was obliterated. We have all that our gracious 
God intended us to have nothing more, nothing less. 

Our existing Canon of the New Testament is, then, a 
complete whole, varied indeed in its parts, but all bound 
together in a harmonious unity, and it thoroughly merits 
the encomium which its chief penman pronounced upon 
the Old Testament: " Every Scripture inspired of God is 
also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for 
instruction which is in righteousness ; that the man of 
God may be complete, furnished completely unto every 
good work." This admirable excellence is perceived 
whenever the book is faithfully studied ; it is demon- 
strated by its influence in all the past upon individuals, 
families, and nations; it is shown yet more convincingly 
by comparison with any or all of the apocryphal writ- 
ings. These are many and various. Not all of them have 
come down to us, but enough have survived to satisfy us 
that the early Church did not accept whatever ottered 



THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 3H 

itself as apostolic and divine, but employed a wise and dis- 
criminating criticism, and was as distinctly guided from 
above in what it rejected as in what it adopted. There 
is a number of gospels intended to fill supposed gaps in 
the works of the four evangelists, but not one of them 
can for a moment stand a comparison with the canonical 
record. They are puerile in style and substance, make no 
addition to our real knowledge, and are every way worth- 
less. The same is true of the Acts of Pilate, the Letters 
of Paul to Seneca, the Letter of Abgarus to Jesus, and 
of all the rest. It would seem as if they were allowed to 
be produced and to survive in order to furnish all coming 
time a convenient test by which to determine the distance 
between the genuine productions of an apostolic pen and 
those that are spurious. A similar remark may be made 
concerning other productions written in good faith, but of 
simply human origin, which yet, in more than one case, 
were temporarily mistaken for apostolic, and classed with 
the legitimate Scripture. Such are the Shepherd of 
Hennas, the Epistle of Barnabas, etc. These are not silly 
and superstitious like the apocryphal books, but serious, 
and having a definite purpose. Yet they are written on 
a low, human, earthly plane, without any definite grasp of 
revealed truth and wholly destitute of the intense spiritual 
power of the genuine Word. Hence it is not strange that 
after being for a time mixed up with the genuine accents 
of inspiration their true character became known, and 
they were quietly dropped from the position to which 
they had no claim, and now serve no purpose save that of 
showing how great is the difference between a religious 
teacher who writes in dependence upon his own resources 
and one who is under the guidance of the Holy Ghost. 
There is nothing in the whole range of antiquity which 
any competent authority would wish to add to the exist- 
ing Canon, nothing which, if so added, w r ould be anything 



312 THE CANON OF SCRIPTURE. 

else than a drawback something that bad to be explained 
and apologized for. 

It may then be said in conclusion, that the external evi- 
dence is fully corroborated by the internal, leaving us no 
room to doubt that the existing Canon of Scripture as 
recognized by Protestant Christendom is strictly accurate, 
having nothing superfluous and nothing lacking, but con- 
taining the whole mind of the Spirit so far as it has been 
revealed. God, having been pleased to make a revelation 
of Himself to our race and to inspire holy men to make 
an exact record of that revelation, has also seen "fit in His 
wise and holy Providence to guard the transmission of it 
down through the ages so that it comes to us in all its 
original integrity, and we believe and are sure that we are 
not following cunningly-devised fables, but possess the liv- 
ing oracles of the living God. The external evidence and 
the internal combine to justify this conclusion in which 
the Church of God has calmly rested for centuries. From 
time to time portions of the Canon have been violently at- 
tacked, and the assailants often raised a shout of triumph, 
but the triumph was short. After the smoke had cleared 
away it was seen that the foundations of revealed truth 
had not suffered in the least, but only displayed anew 
their immovable solidity. 



PREACH THE WORD. 

HOWARD CROSBY. 

ONE of the latest injunctions of the aged Paul, just be- 
fore his martyrdom, was that to Timothy, which consti- 
tutes the text of my address " Preach the Word." Thirty 
years of Christian experience, fifteen years of apostolic 
survey, and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, all spoke 
in those words. It was a command from heaven itself, 
not to Timothy only, but to all who fill the office of evan- 
gelists or preachers in the New Testament Church. The 
order, thus succinctly given, is a condensation of all that 
Paul had said to Timothy or to the Church on the subject 
of preaching. The sound or healthy doctrine on which 
he lays so much stress, and the avoidance of fables and 
the world's wisdom, are both included in this curt com- 
mand. There has been a tendency from the very begin- 
ning to conform the doctrine of Christ to the philosophy 
of man, to fuse the two together, and to show that all re- 
ligions have the same divine element at their roots. This 
was seen in Gnosticism, in the Alexandrian school of 
Clement and Origen, and in a score of heresies that sprang 
up within the later Church. The distinctive character of 
Christianity has displeased the philosophic mind, and men 
have sought to explain away many of its features from the 
stand-point of the human consciousness and by an appeal 
to the teachings of nature. These efforts have certain 
marks in common. They diminish the heinousness of 
sin, they exaggerate the powers of man, and they suggest 
a uniformity of destiny. Sin is a defect, perhaps a disease. 
The defect can be supplied, the disease can be cured by 

(313) 



314 PREACH THE WORD. 

human applications, the divine help being valuable as en- 
couragement to the human effort. High civilization and 
moral reform are what man needs, and these can be ob- 
tained by the use of general principles common to our 
race, of which Christianity is only one of the forms. 

It is natural and inevitable that, with this teaching, the 
written Word of God should be neglected, if not ignored. 
No one can study that Word and then use it for so broad 
and undiscriminating a purpose. No one can study that 
Word and then, be contented with a superficial polish of 
society, and a universal brotherhood founded on such a 
scheme. Paul saw this tendency in his own day, and he 
warns the Church earnestly against it. " Beware " is his 
language " Beware lest any man spoil you through phi- 
losophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after 
the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ " (Col. 
ii. 8). The evil principle is ever at work. Human nature 
is ever the same. The Church is always subject to the 
same efforts of human nature within itself to remove the 
foundations of grace and substitute the inventions of 
pride. Whether it appear in the form of hierarchical 
assumption, or in the character of rational inquiry and 
scientific research, the evil principle hides, mutilates, or 
contradicts the Holy Scriptures. The Scriptures, as they 
are, with their divine claim and their uncompromising 
teachings, it cannot endure, and the appeal to Scripture it 
counts as a mark of credulity and an exhibition of igno- 
rance. One of the saddest sights in the Church of Christ 
is the yielding to this spirit of pride on the part of the 
ordained preachers of the Word. Many modern Timothys 
use the pulpit for discourses on art and literature, others 
take the opportunity for the display of rhetoric and ora- 
tory, others proclaim an ethics of expediency, while still 
others seek only to tickle the ears of an audience that desire to 
be amused. In all this you look in vain for the Gospel. 



PREACH THE WORD. 315 

Plato or Aristotle, and in some cases Lucian, could have 
said it all. Churches are filled by appealing to carnal de- 
sires and sesthetic tastes. Brilliant oratory, scientific mu 
sic, sensational topics, and fashionable pewholders, are the 
baits to lure people into the churches, and a church is 
called prosperous as these wretched devices succeed. The 
preacher delights to get himself into the newspaper, and 
he accommodates his preaching to the newspaper level. 
Such churches will, of course, have worldly-minded offi- 
cers and a worldly-minded membership, while godly souls 
either flee from them, or else mourn in secret, if they are 
not themselves chilled by the lack of Gospel heat. 

It is directly against all this that the holy apostle utters 
his clarion cry down through the ages : " Preach the 
Word." What is the Word 1 It is not man's philosophy 
nor man's rhetoric. It is the divine revelation. It is 
called the Word of God, because it is not of man. As 
God's, it has both authority and power authority to de- 
mand attention, and power to convert and save the soul. 
It is not to be pounded in man's mortar, nor run into 
man's mould. It is Dot to be twisted and fitted to man's 
preconceived ideas. It is not to be filtered through man's 
strainer, nor mixed with man's conceits. It is God's, and 
as God's, let no man dare add to it, or take frwn it, or 
alter it in any way. The Lord Jesus stands by His cross, 
where He offered up the sacrifice for sin, and points back- 
ward to the Old Testament, and forward to the New, as 
alike the Word of God. Of the former He cries, " Search 
the Scriptures "; of the latter He tells His apostles that 
the Paraclete would come and teach them all things, and 
they should bear witness. This Old and New Testament 
is one Revelation of God one Bible one unerring rule 
of faith. God has not given us a doubtful and deceitful 
light for our path. He has not given us a bundle of truth 
and fable tied up together. He has not left us to our 



316 PREACH THE WORD. 

weak and discordant reason, and thus made revelation 
superfluous. He has given His people a " sure word of 
prophecy " as the only reasonable guide for our weak rea- 
son and our sinful natures ; and on this sure word is His 
Church built. The doctrines of grace have neither human 
origin nor human support. They are altogether divine, 
and are received only by the soul that becomes partaker 
of the divine nature. To go, therefore, to human philos- 
ophy or to man's inner consciousness for their confirma- 
tion or explanation, is to go to the sentenced criminal to 
understand the excellences of criminal law. The error of 
errors is the seeking for the truths of religion from man. 
It is but the adaptation of religion to the carnal heart. It 
is the essence of pride and rebellion against God. Thou- 
sands of tomes have been written by men who called 
themselves Christian scholars and Christian philosophers, 
which are but volumes of confusing metaphysics and spe- 
cious rationalizing from the basis of natural experience, 
and which have undermined faith in the Word of God, 
and utterly perverted the Gospel of Christ. Students of 
Christian theology waste precious time in studying the 
works of these conceited thinkers, whose names are lauded 
as those of giants in the Church, while they are corrupt- 
ing the pulpit and secularizing the pew. 

It is a favorite charge of the advocates of this looseness, 
that we are worshipping a Book. " Bibliolatry " is the 
formidable word that they cast at us. But we worship no 
Book. We do worship God, who sent the Book, and it is 
no true worship of God that slights the Book which He 
gives. If we honor God, we shall honor the Word He 
has sent, and we shall be jealous for that Word, that not 
one jot or one tittle of it be disturbed by the vagaries of 
dreamers or the impious hands of boasting critics. It is 
the Word of God, and, as such, we shall not allow, for a 
moment, the speculations, imaginings, and guesses of men 



PREACH THE WORD. 317 

ever so learned, to weigh a feather's weight against it. 
They have been convicted over and over again of grossest 
fallacies in their hot endeavor to detract from the influ- 
ence of the Holy Word, and their criticisms have returned 
upon themselves to their confusion. This brief hour gives 
me no time to catalogue some of the absurdities which 
have been promulgated by these learned enemies of Reve- 
lation. Myth, romance, the fiction of poetry, a patchwork 
of traditions, contradictory records, pious fraud, these are 
some of the labels that the strutting pride of man has af- 
fixed to the books of the Bible, while not one of his 
sneers has been sustained in the light of honest criticism. 
No scientific truth has been found opposed, and no his- 
toric truth misstated, in all the sacred writings, from Moses 
to John. The most microscopic investigations have been 
made by the most eager and learned enemies of the truth, 
in order to find some inaccuracy, but not one has been 
discovered, except those necessarily resulting from the 
process of transcription, and those imaginary ones which 
are perfectly resolvable by ordinary common sense. Ap- 
ply these tests to the Yedas, the Avesta, or the Koran, and 
the contrast is overwhelming. These fairly bristle with 
error and falsehood, but the Bible comes out from the 
crucible without spot, as the pure Word of God. Men 
just as learned as the inimical critics, and just as thorough 
in their investigation, men known and revered in the 
world of letters, have accepted the Bible, the whole Bible, 
as the men-ant truth of God. If the verdict of the inimi- 
cal critics can be thus set aside in an equally learned court, 
the result shows that their learning goes for nothing in 
the matter. 

But far above all this testimony to the letter is the wit- 
ness of millions who have found the joy unutterable and 
the peace which passeth all understanding in the sacred 
volume, and who are drawn to it as a child is drawn to its 



318 PREACH THE WORD. 

father without question regarding his worth and authority. 
They never suppose (and the position is a right one) that 
the fountain that refreshes their souls is defective or cor- 
rupt, but they value its every drop as a gift of the divine 
grace. They go constantly to its blessed waters, and always 
derive strength from the draught. To such the carping 
critics are as unworthy of regard as those who would argue 
against the sunshine. The knowledge of the heart is a 
profounder thing than the knowledge of the head, and, in 
the Spirit-led disciple, can correct and rebuke the errors of 
the latter. Now, it is this holy Word, thus spotless and 
thus powerful for righteousness and comfort, that the 
Christian preacher is to preach. The preacher is a pro- 
claimer, a herald, not a college professor or an originator 
of theories. He has the Word given him, and that he is 
to proclaim. He is not to draw from the wells of human 
philosophy, but from the stream that flows directly from 
the throne of God. He is to tell the people what God has 
said. He is to hide himself behind his message, and to re- 
ceive it equally with those he addresses. Not only is he 
not the inventor and expounder of a philosophy, but also 
he is not the mouthpiece of a church to issue ecclesiastical 
decrees and fulminate ecclesiastical censures. This is as 
far from preaching the Word as the other. As a herald 
of Christ, while there is nothing before him but human 
hearts and consciences to appeal to, there is nothing behind 
him but the revealed Word of God to utter and enforce. 
All church commands laid upon him as to his preaching 
are as nothing except as they are conformed to that Word. 
He is responsible as a herald to God and not to the church. 
He is God's herald and not the church's. The same reason 
that forbids him from making the people's approbation 
the guide to his preaching will forbid him from making 
church authority the guide. He will be happy to please 
both people and authorities, but he cannot make that pleas- 



PREACH THE WORD. 319 

ing a criterion or standard. His duty is above all that. 
His allegiance is higher. 

In thus limiting himself to the preaching of God's 
Word, the preacher is not circumscribing his power, but 
enlarging it. By the jealous use of that Word alone he 
will accomplish far more for the kingdom of Christ and 
the salvation of men than by mixing human expedients 
with the Word. Human expedients are very specious and 
attractive, and, alas ! many preachers betake themselves 
to them. They think they will attract the multitude and 
fill up the pews and produce a larger rental ; and so they 
may, but these are not the objects for which the Lord sent 
out His heralds. Success is not to be reckoned by full 
houses and popular applause, but by convicted and con- 
verted hearts, and by the strengthening of the faith and 
piety of God's people. A holier life, a more pronounced 
separation from the world, a stainless integrity in business 
pursuits, a Christly devotion to the interests of others, a 
more thorough knowledge of the Word these are the true 
signs of success which the preacher may justly seek, even 
though he wear homespun and his people meet in a barn. 
These are the glorious results which the consecrated soul 
will pray for, and in them he will rejoice with a purer, 
holier joy than that which comes from numbers, wealth, 
or popular admiration. If the preacher preaches the Word 
only, then he will teach his people to handle the Word 
to follow him in his reading and expounding to study 
over the Scripture lesson at home, and to pray its blessed 
truths into their souls. A people will, in this way, be- 
come mighty in the Scriptures ; and he who is mighty in 
the Scriptures is a mighty power for Christ and salvation, 
and in his own soul will have a full experience of the power 
of divine truth, deriving it directly from its source, and 
proving how the entrance of God's word giveth light. 
Still again, if the preacher preach the Word only, he 



320 PREACH THE WORD. 

will himself be a diligent strident of the Word. He will 
bathe in God's revelation and be permeated by it, and so 
be proof against all the shafts of ignorance and conceit,. 
He will become familiar with every detail of the sacred 
history, chronology, ethnology, geography, prophecy, pre- 
cept, and doctrine, and will take nothing at second hand. 
He will not go to Pope or Council, nor to Calvin or 
Sehleiermacher to know what to preach, but his delight 
will be in the law of the Lord, and in His law will he 
meditate day and night. 

It is a lamentable fact, that in too many of our semi- 
naries where preachers are prepared for their work, the 
Word of God is not taught, but in its stead the philo- 
sophic schemes of so-called " fathers" and great divines 
are given as the basis of doctrinal belief. It is true, that 
these schemes are brought to the Scripture for support, 
and texts are quoted in their defence. It is true also that 
some of these schemes are consonant with Scripture more 
or less. But, with these admissions, the mistake still 
exists, that the Word of God plays a secondary part in 
the instruction. It is not taught ; that is, it is not made 
the authoritative text-book. It is even sometimes intro- 
duced as a subject for criticism, and men like Eeuss and 
Robertson Smith are brought in as the critical guides or, 
at least, helpers. As if a school of the prophets was in- 
tended to examine the credentials of God's Word, and not 
to take it humbly and gratefully for personal use and for 
use before the people. Some theological schools might, 
without exaggeration, be called "schools for turning Jbe- 
lievers into doubters." The excuse, that men who are 
going to be preachers should know all that is said against 
the credibility, genuineness, and authenticity of the Scrip- 
tures, is a flimsy one. If that were the object, these ob- 
jections would be considered only by way of parenthesis, 
and the overwhelming evidence of the Scriptures would 



PREACH THE WORD. 321 

, 
be the main current of thought ; but this is not the way it 

is done. On the contrary, the objections are magnified, 
and their authors are commended to the students for their 
perusal, and the hint is often thrown out that conservative 
views of the inspiration of God's Word are antiquated, ob- 
solete, and marks of ignorance. We have thus, in the very 
places where, most of all, we should expect to see the 
profoundest reverence for God's Word, and its faithful 
study for the understanding of the Divine will, the ma- 
chinery for undermining the doctrine of Scripture inspi- 
ration and authority, on which all Christian truth rests, 
and that, too, in the young minds which are being pre- 
pared to become Christ's preachers to a sinful and dying 
world. It is a most painful thought, and it becomes the 
Church of Jesus Christ to arise to a sense of the evil, and 
to correct it before the whole Church is poisoned by this 
insidious influence. 

We wish our young Timothys to go out to their work 
with the one controlling desire to put God's Word before 
the people and to avoid questions and strifes of words 
which do not minister to godly edifying, knowing that 
the power to convert and edify is not the wisdom of man, 
but the power of God. 

In these clays when so much is made of science, let them 
leave science alone. All the knowledge of the material " 
world, which science deals in, has nothing to do with the 
soul's salvation. That is in a different sphere altogether. 
While it is in accordance with propriety that a preacher 
should have a general acquaintance with life and things 
about him, which would include the main principles of 
natural science (which is simply to say that he ought to 
be an educated man), yet it is not through material science 
that he is to teach heavenly truths, nor is he to waste his 
time on protoplasm, bathybius, and natural selection, into 
- which and like subjects Satan, would gladly draw him, that ha 



322 PREACH THE WORD. 

may not present the subjects of sin and the cross of Christ. 
If a preacher illustrate Scripture doctrine from facts in 
the natural world, it is well. He follows the Master's 
example. But if he puts the natural world in its scientific 
aspects forward as the text of his discourse, he is using a 
Bible of a very weak and uncertain sort, and of which he 
knows very little, and he is making the Word of God 
subordinate to his own inferences and guesses from nature. 
Science and Religion are too often spoken of as if they oc- 
cupied the same plane. Both those who say they are 
antagonistic, and those who say they are at one, equally 
talk of the two as on a level. You might as well talk of 
bread-baking and religion as if they were co-ordinates. Of 
course there is a connection between science and religion. 
So there is between bread-baking and religion. The sci- 
entific man ought to be religious. So ought the bread- 
baker. Science can furnish examples of God's wonders in 
nature. So can bread-baking. But such connections can- 
not put the subjects on the same level. Science is merely 
the study of matter, an examination into natural sequences ; 
but what has that to do with man's immortal soul, and the 
"Word of God to that soul ? "Who dares to bring the lat- 
ter down to the level of the former ? "What has the anal- 
ysis of any body and its division into carbon, oxygen, and 
hydrogen, to do with my eternal relation to God as a re- 
sponsible and sinful being ? Why mingle things so ut- 
terly diverse? And yet this babble about science and 
religion (where science is always ever put first), is heard 
ad nauseam from those who are commissioned to preach 
the Word. Is this Paul's way ? Is this John's way ? Is 
this Christ's way ? Then why should it be the way of our 
modern Timothys? Science, at its utmost reach, can 
never touch the sphere of the soul's pressing wants. All 
its truths together" can make no impression on a guilty 
conscience needing the divine pardon. Nature is as dumb 



PREACH THE WORD. 323 

as any of its own stones in the matter of the soul's salva- 
tion. Then why meddle with it in the pulpit ? Why 
bow to it as a teacher ? Why be guilty of the blasphemy 
of putting it on a level with the Word of God ? 

It is as preachers depart from that Word that their 
preaching becomes barren and fruitless. The Divine 
Spirit will only accompany the Divine Word. His mighty 
power will act only in His own way and by His own means. 
The Word is supernatural, and woe to the preacher who 
leaves the supernatural for the natural ; who sets aside 
the sword of the Spirit to use in its stead a blade of his 
own tempering ! 

It is a happy feature of our day, as over against the 
evils of which we have spoken, that God has caused His 
people to study the Bible as never before, and they are 
gathering in Sunday-schools and Bible-classes to counter- 
act the mischief which so many pulpits are making. The 
faithful study of the Word will be blessed to the over- 
throw of the foes of the truth, and a new generation will 
arise strong in the Scriptures to purify the Church and 
rid it of its false teachers. God's truth needs no human 
additions. It is ample in itself to fit all the needs of the 
soul. One deeply versed in that truth is armed against 
all enemies, however formidable, however insidious. Let 
us do all we can to make the Bible the constant study of 
the Church of Christ, knowing that in this study is the 
safety of the Church and the hope of the world. 



THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. 

EVANG. GEO. C. NEEDHAM. 

THE Holy Spirit sustains varied relations to the Holy 
Scriptures. He is independent of them in personal sov- 
ereignty, yet identified with them in official ministry. 
The Spirit is known only through His word, even as a 
man is known by his words, which are the outward ex- 
pression of his thoughts. " As a man thinketh in his 
heart, so is he." Yet not always is the man hereby fully 
known. Not so, however, with the Spirit, for through 
the revelation of Himself, we have accurate knowledge of 
Him the Holy Spirit. For He wears no mask, adopts 
no disguise, is not hypocritical, is no trickster, but is trans- 
parent as the sea of glass before the throne, clear as the 
sunbeam, in whom is no darkness at all. Through the 
mirror of His Word, He reflects His pure nature, His 
manifold characters, and the purposes of His ministry. 
By that Word, also, by the thunder of its power, by the 
sharpness of its blade, by the sweetness of its taste, 
by the richness of its mines, by the comfort of its 
promises, and by the nourishment of its doctrines, do 
we further know the Spirit in the majesty of His per- 
son, and in His multiform ministry. For, whatever may 
have been His modes of revelation in former ages to pa- 
triarchs and prophets, and however varied his operations 
shall be in the age to come, He seems to have limited the 
instrument of His ministry during this church dispensa- 
tion to that Word, of which He is both Author and Fin- 
isher. 

(324) 



THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. 325 

There is, however, a First Word, who is from the be- 
ginning, who in the fullness of time became incarnate, and 
there is another Word, called "living Epistles," with 
each of whom, also, the blessed Spirit has entered into 
close and vital relations. There is, besides, a correspond- 
ence between such relations, and those He sustains to- 
ward the written Word^ which is, to us, the source of all 
spiritual knowledge of things past, present, and to come. 
With each, the Incarnate Word, the living Epistles of 
Christ, and the written Scriptures, is the Holy Spirit or- 
ganically connected, therefore vitally related. It was He 
who prepared that Temple of our Lord's body, which 
concealed, yet revealed, the glory of the only-begotten 
Son of God. It was He, who, in dove-like appearance, 
descended upon Jesus on the banks of the Jordan, and 
abode upon Him. Thus He came, as the Father's seal 
of divine authentication, upon the Beloved Son. Priests 
and prophets He visited, endowed, inspired, but with 
none of them could it be said that He abode. And, so, 
throughout our Lord's earthly life, in preparation for His 
unique mission, He was anointed of the Spirit, led of the 
Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, comforted through the 
Spirit, He offered Himself a sacrifice for sin by the same 
Spirit, yea, was finally raised from the dead by Him 
who is the quickening Spirit. 

Again, observe the very intimate relations which the 
Holy Spirit holds to the believer. For the Christian is 
one born of the Spirit, sealed with the Spirit, led of the 
Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, quickened by the Spirit, 
first in his inner life, and finally in his resurrection from 
the dead. 

Thus, also, do we perceive like relations between the 
letter of Scripture, and the living Spirit. May we not 
say truly that it is born of the Spirit, it has been baptized 
with the Spirit, its genuinenesses attested by this divine 



326 THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. 

seal upon it? It is anointed with the Spirit, it is made 
quick and powerful, a living resurrection word, by the 
same Spirit. As Jesus was author and finisher of His 
own personal faith, so is He, the Spirit, author and fin- 
isher of that " word of faith," which is our warrant of 
faith, our ground of faith, our instructor in faith, our in- 
centive to faith, and our rule of faith. 

1. First proposition : THE HOLY SPIKIT is SOLE AUTHOR 
OF HOLY SCRIPTURE. 

. 1. Pie is the author of revelation in its totality. The 
Bible is not of man, neither by men, even as the stream 
is not of the river channel. Yet as channel and stream 
are closely related, and identified one with another, so are 
the human writers and the writings in close identity. 
But only forth from the fountain mind of the Eternal 
Spirit, who is independent, sovereign, original, and orig- 
inating, have these Scripture streams descended through 
their human channels to us. 

2. The Holy Spirit is the author of Scripture in its 
thoughts and words. We do not indeed attribute to Him 
every recorded utterance. There are phrases in the 
book entirely alien to the Spirit of God. The words of 
Satan words of demons words of heathen poets words 
of scribes, pharisees, hypocrites words of bad men, and 
mistakes of good men, are not divine words. It suited 
the purpose of the Spirit, however, to have them record- 
ed ; and He accordingly inspired holy men to write 
them, "for reproof, for correction, for instruction in 
righteousness, that the man of God might be perfect, 
thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 

The mission and office of the Spirit was thus announced 
by Jesus : " Howbeit when He the Spirit of truth is come, 
He will guide you into all truth : for He shall not speak of 
Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall Jle 
speak : and He will show you things, to qome. " (John, xvi. 



THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. 327 

13). The Holy Spirit must make use of human language, 
not because of His impotence, but because of our infirmi- 
ties. " He shall speak." He gave the writers words, 
which words are. the original Scriptures. It has been 
frequently stated that the Holy Spirit had for the object 
of His mysterious inspiration, not the writers, but the 
writings. The writers were fallible men ; the writings 
infallible communications. The words employed by the 
Spirit are human words, and may form the vehicle of 
ordinary human intelligence, but when selected by the 
Spirit to convey divine revelations they become divine 
words. Therefore, in this relation are they called the 
words of the Spirit. u Which things also we speak, not 
in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which 
the Holy Ghost teacheth." 

As the body of the primal man was made out of the 
earth, into which God breathed the breath of life, and 
man became a living soul ; so the Holy Spirit has taken 
the earthly words of human language out of which He 
forms the body of Scripture, and into which He breathes 
the living thought, and thereby the Book becomes a 
Book of Life. " Every Scripture is God-breathed." 

Let us consider the testimony of Jesus on this point. 
In Mark xii. 36, our Lord's words are recorded, where He 
quotes from Ps. ex. Not accidentally does He refer to 
the author of that Psalm, when rebuking the secularized 
scribes of the temple, in the words, " David himself SAID 
BY THE HOLY GHOST." The Psalm is the language of 
David. David himself said it, for David was mouth- 
piece, or penman. But it is emphatically the language 
of the Holy Ghost who spake through David, and whose 
word was on his tongue (2 Sam. xxiii. 2). 

Again, when Peter, in Acts i. 16, refers to the forty- 
first Psalm, prophetic of Judas Iscariot, he makes this ap- 
plication of it : " Men and brethren, this Scripture must 



328 THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. 

needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost BY THE 
MOUTH OF DAVID SPAKE before concerning Judas, which 
was guide to them that took Jesus." Thus does Peter at- 
tribute the authorship of the words of -the Psalm to the 
Holy Spirit of God. Nay, more, it is His own testimony 
to Himself, through Peter, as the original source of sacred 
Scripture. 

So also in Acts iv. 25, the language is most expressive, 
"Who by the mouth of Thy servant David HAST SAID." 
Paul, likewise having been taught the source of that 
wonderful communication to Isaiah recorded in chap, vi., 
declares, " WELL SPAKE THE HOLY GHOST through Isaiah 
the prophet." Nor must we forget that climacteric state- 
ment of Peter who was inspired to write, " No prophecy 
ever came by the will of man ; but MEN SPAKE FBOM GOD, 
being moved by the Holy Ghost." 

How misleading, therefore, is any theory of Inspiration 
which allows the admixture of human mistakes with di- 
vine communications; the mistakes of human speech 
coupled to divine thought. And how nattering to hu- 
man pride that intellect, intuition, or consciousness shall 
determine which is truth arid which is fable. No true 
lover of God's Word will permit the majesty of that Word 
to be thus degraded, in order that the perverted, distorted, 
and corrupted reason of man shall be exalted. Nor will 
any Christian believer having due reverence toward the 
Holy Spirit entertain such rationalistic and unscriptural 
doctrine. The higher critics and the lower critics would 
not manifest their dislike of the complete inspiration of 
the words of Scripture, were it not for the insane passion 
of the natural man to regard reason as the touchstone 
and test of revelation. Calmly and wisely has Professor 
Gaussen written of the Bible: u lts first line and its last, 
with all the instruction (whether understood or not) which 
it contains, are by the same Author. -Whatever the sacred 



THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. 329 

penmen may have been whatever their circumstances, 
their impressions, their comprehension of what they wrote, 
and the measure of their individuality brought into opera- 
tion by this divine and mysterious power they have all, 
with a faithful and directed hand, written in the same 
volume, under the guidance of the same Master, in whose 
estimation ' a thousand years are as one day,' and the result 
is the Bible. Let us not lose our time, then, in vain 
questioning, but study the Book. It is the word of Moses, 
of Amos, of John, and of Paul, but it is the thought of 
God, and the word of God. It is therefore erroneous 
language to say, Certain passages of the Bible are those 
of man, and others those of God. No ; every verse there- 
in, without exception, is of man, and they are also all, 
wi shout exception, those of God." Even so. The humble, 
devout believer recognizes the divine Author in every 
verse and word of Scripture, and values it as an inte- 
gral part of the great volume of Revelation, stamped 
from Genesis to Apocalypse with the impress of divine 
life, and light, and power, even as the thoughtful natu- 
ralist sees in every trembling leaf the mark of intelli- 
gent design, and understands its relation to the whole 
forest. 

II. Second proposition : THE MINISTRY OF THE SPIRIT 

AND OF THE WoRD IS A CO-ORDINATE MINISTRY. He who is 

the author of the word is pleased to use it as the instru- 
ment of His diversified operations in this dispensation of 
the Spirit. 

1. The identity of the Spirit and Word is recognized in 
the names given to each. As for instance : " Spirit of 
God," "word of God"; "Spirit of truth," "word of 
truth "; Spirit of grace," word of His grace "; " Spirit 
of life," "word of life"; "Spirit of wisdom," "word of 
wisdom "; " Spirit of Christ," " word of Christ "; " Spirit 
of power," "word of power"; "The good Spirit," "the 



330 THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. 

good word of God"; "Spirit of prophecy," " word of 
prophecy"; "The Comforter," "comfort one another 
with these words." 

2. In the use of emblems common to the Spirit and 
Word. 

(1) Dew. In Hosea xiv. 5, we find the promise, "I 
will be as the dew unto Israel," a favorite and appropri- 
ate emblem of the Spirit. In Deut. xxxii. 2, Jehovah 
declares, " My speech shall distil as the dew." 

(2) Rain. Ps. Ixxii. 6 : " He shall come down as 
showers upon the mown grass, as showers that water the 
earth" (comp. Isaiah xliv. 3). Deut. xxxii. 2 : "My doc- 
trine shall drop as the rain .... as the small rain upon 
the tender grass, and as the showers upon the earth." 

(3) Water. John vii. 37 : " He that believeth on me, 
out of his belly (heart or inward parts) shall flow rivers 
of living water. This spake He of the Spirit that they 
which believe in Him should receive." Eph. v. 25 : 
" Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it, that 
He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of 
water by the word." 

(4) Light. 2 Sam. xxiii. 4 : " He shall be as the light 
of the morning, when the sun riseth." Ps. cxix. 105 : 
" Thy word .... is a light." Prov. vi. 23 : " The law 
is light." 

(5) Fire. When the Holy Spirit descended on the 
day of Pentecost, "there appeared unto them cloven 
tongues like as of fire .... and they were all filled with 
the Holy Ghost" (Acts ii. 3, 4). Jer. xxiii. 29: "Is not 
my word like as fire ? saith the Lord." 

3. Proof of co-ordinate ministry of the Spirit and the 
Word by the effects produced. 

(1) In regeneration. " Not by works of righteousness 
which we have done, but according to His mercy He 
saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of 



THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. 331 

the Holy Gliost" (Titus iii. 4-6). Eegeneration by the 
Holy Spirit is a foundation creed in all evangelical 
churches. It is a primal Bible doctrine. For " except a 
man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter 
into the kingdom of God." This is also the office of the 
Word. '* Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but 
of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and 
abideth forever " (1 Pet. i. 23). The Holy Spirit begets 
the soul anew through the word. The Spirit regenerates, 
and the word regenerates ; hence the necessity of preach- 
ing the word in order to give the Spirit the opportunity 
He seeks to make men wise unto salvation. While human 
speculation, natural philosophy, culture, politics, or science, 
form the substance of so many sermons, we are not sur- 
prised that regeneration is practically ignored, and its 
deep need forgotten. The Spirit's injunction to the min- 
istry of every age is, " Preach the word." 

(2) In sanotifieation. The Holy Spirit enters the be- 
lieving heart as the sanctifier (1 Pet. i. 2). But also in 
the Lord's pmyer we note the petition, " Sanctify them 
through Thy truth, Thy word is truth "; i. e., the whole 
of truth (John xvii. 17). There are various aspects of 
sanctin'cation which cannot now be discussed, such as 
sanctification through the blood of Christ, sanctification 
by faith, etc. Our present work is to call attention to 
the fact that the Spirit of God sanctifies the regenerated 
man, making use of the word of God for his cleansing 
and purification. " Now are ye clean through the word 
which I have spoken unto you " (John xv. 3). 

(3) The Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus. " But when the 
Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the 
Father, even the Spirit of truth which proceedeth from 
the Father, He shall testify of me " (John xv. 26). But 
it is co-ordinate testimony. " Search the Scriptures ; for 
in them ye think ye have eternal life : and they are they 



332 THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. 

which testify of me " (John v. 39). The Scriptures our 
Lord refers to, are those of the Old Testament. Moses 
in the Law, David in the Psalms, and all the Prophets 
testified of Him. Jesus Himself rebukes every reviler 
of Moses. "And beginning at Moses and all the pro- 
phets He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the 
things concerning Himself. .... And He said unto 
them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while 
I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled 
which were written in the law of Moses, and in the 
prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. Then 
opened He their understanding, that they might under- 
stand the Scriptures." 

(4) The Spirit and the Word work unitedly in the 
edification of the Church. The Holy Spirit is builder. 
He hews out the living stones from the quarry, fitting 
them into the spiritual temple, which groweth up as the 
habitation of God (Eph. ii. 22). Yet Paul, in his farewell 
address to the Ephesian elders, commended them to the 
word of God's grace, " which is able to build you up " 
(Acts xx. 32). Through the Holy Spirit's gracious min- 
istry of the divine word is the Church, whether viewed 
as a structure, or as the mystical body of Christ, truly 
edified. 

(5) The work of revival is the work of the Spirit. 
"When the promised dew descends, revival begins (Hosea 
xiv. 5). E"o intelligent Christian will designate the most 
effective preacher a " revivalist "; and no man taught of 
the Spirit will arrogate to himself this distinguishing title. 
Revivals may be simulated, but the work when real is the 
product of the quickening Spirit. The Word, however, has 
also its place in every genuine revival. In i^eh. viii. 1-9, 
we have an example of the reviving power of the preached 
Word. The Levites read out of the law distinctly, and 
gave the sense, and caused the people to understand the 



THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. 333 

reading. And the word was applied in power by the 
Spirit. So also in Ezek. xxxvii. 1-10, we discover the 
co-operation of these two in the revival of the dry bones, 
who stood upon their feet an exceeding great army. And 
thus, as the prophecy foretells, shall Israel be revived in 
the next age of millennial blessedness, when the Spirit is 
poured forth upon them, and they are found hearing the 
words of the Lord. 

(6) Guidance. The promise of Jesus is, "He will 
guide you into all the truth." Thus does our Lord com- 
fort His disciples, in assuring them that after His depart- 
ure, the Holy Spirit would come and be their guide. 
Also in Prov. vi. 22, guidance is attributed to the word ; 
u When thou goest, it shall lead thee." Here, then, is 
provision for our journey ; an infallible guide flashing on 
our pathway this unfailing light. No feeble light of na- 
ture nor flickering light of consciousness can illumine the 
path from earth to heaven. Only the Holy Spirit's clear, 
steady, noonday light of Scripture will prove sufficient. 

(7) Co-operation in producing pure and spontaneous 
worship. " Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to your- 
elves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and 
making melody in your hearts to the Lord, giving thanks 
always for all things unto God and the Father in the name 
of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph. v. 18, 10). Thus the 
highest expression of worship is the product of the divine 
Spirit in the soul. And herein does the Word also ful- 
fill its mission. " Let the Word of Christ dwell in you 
richly in all wisdom ; teaching and admonishing one an- 
other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with 
grace in your hearts to the Lord " (Col. iii. 16). Such are 
the divine effects of the indwelling word when received 
in the Holy Ghost. It is the true basis of spiritual experi- 
ence and the strongest incentive to spiritual worship. 

Thus have we traced the unity of both. The Word is 



334 THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. 

the Spirit's word and the Spirit's instrument. There- 
fore, their action is one and the same in regeneration, 
sanctification, testimony, edification, revival, guidance, 
worship, and every experience of that new creation in 
Christ Jesus the true Christian believer. Sadducean 
sceptics denied the supernatural element in the Scriptures 
and brought upon themselves the deserved rebuke of Je- 
sus, a Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the 
power of God." In that declaration does our Lord affirm 
that divine, superhuman, omnipotent power is linked with 
the written word of God. 

Is it not our privilege, then, to receive that word in its 
totality and in its tittles ; to bow with becoming rever- 
ence before its divine claims; to recognize that every 
type, prophecy, history, parable, doctrine, is given of 
Qod ; that every word of God is pure ; that it has been, 
tried and not found wanting, and that He from whom it 
came will abide with it forever ? 

III. Third proposition : THE HOLY SPIRIT ALONE CAN 

GIVE US A RIGHT UNDERSTANDING OF THE WoRD. 

The natural man may by the power of unaided intel- 
lect throw side-lights upon the human element of Scrip- 
ture. We are deeply indebted to the geologist, botanist, 
historian, grammarian, archaeologist, to compilers, and to 
critics. But to none of them, as merely intellectual men, 
not having the Spirit themselves, do we owe aught in the 
matter of spiritual interpretation, " For what man know- 
eth the things of a man, save the Spirit of man which is 
in him? Even so, the things of God kuoweth no man 
but the Spirit of God. [Now we have received not the 
spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that 
we might know the things that are freely given to us of 
God" (1 Cor. ii. 11, 12). There are, of course, men of 
intellect, who, thank God, have also the Spirit of God, 
to whom the Church is deeply indebted for spiritual 



THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. 335 

interpretation and exposition of the Bible. And also 
there are natural men who reverently aim to exalt 
the Bible from a merely human stand-point, who en- 
deavor to account for discrepancies, and who seek to ex- 
plain difficulties. IC But the natural man understandeth 
not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolish- 
ness unto him ; neither can he know them, for they are 
spiritually discerned " (1 Cor. ii. 14). 

And alas ! there are writers of another school who dis- 
parage the written testimony and deny the Holy Ghost, 
while they irreverently discuss the Christ in art, in po- 
etry, in story, and in philosophy ; whose darkened un- 
derstanding and sceptical tendencies can only lead their 
disciples into the mazes of doubt and infidelity. Some of 
these would fain boast that they compliment Jesus as the 
Ideal Man, while they rob Him of His inherent glory as 
" God manifest in the flesh." Truly, " no man can call 
Jesus LORD, but by the Holy Ghost." So, also, " if any 
man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." 

Let it, then, be our glad homage, brethien in the Lord, 
to give the Holy Spirit that honor due to Him. It is 
His prerogative to enlighten our minds, and to illuminate 
the Word, that we may behold wondrous things therein. 
" We have an Unction from the Holy One," that we 
might know divine things. He will teach us, He will 
prophesy to us, He will bring past spiritual knowledge 
to our remembrance. He will reveal Christ to our inner 
life, when, through patient, diligent study of the divine 
Book we wait upon His ministry, and prayerfully seek 
His proffered help. 

IV. Fourth proposition : THE HOLY SPIRIT INVARIA- 
BLY HONORS THE DIVINE WORD. 

The promises are abundant insuring its success. " For 
as the rain corneth down, and the snow from heaven, and 
returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh 



336 THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. 

it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower 
and bread to the eater : so shall my word be that goeth 
forth out of my mouth : it shall not return unto me void, 
but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall 
prosper in the thing whereto I sent it " (Isa. Iv. 10, 11). We 
read in the book of Acts : " While Peter spake these words, 
the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word." 
What words? Simply Old Testament words, rightly in- 
terpreted. The Apostles preached the word. Their 
sermons were Bible-readings. When Christ is exalted 
according to the Gospel, and by its announcement, the 
Holy Spirit will glorify Him in those that believe. He 
presents to them by the Gospel the things of Jesus, and thus 
Jesus becomes to the believing soul both real and per- 
sonal. It need scarcely be added that pastors, evangel- 
ists, missionaries, and other preachers who trade largely 
with the Scriptures, and who earnestly invoke the Spirit's 
anointing, are the men and women whom the King de- 
lights to honor. 

In conclusion : The knowledge of this relation between 
the Spirit and the Scriptures will save us from a twofold 
danger. 1. First, from searching the Word for purely 
mental gratification from an intellectual pursuit after 
truth. It is possible to be adepts in biblical science, and 
yet be as dry in our spiritual life as Gideon's fleece when 
no dew from heaven fell upon it. Gathered truth, unfelt 
in the soul, unknown by spiritual apprehension, can only 
corrupt like the unused manna. It is possible to preach 
biblical doctrine and be strangers to its vitalizing power. 
Such preaching is dreary, is drudgery, is delusive. The 
heart, not the head, is the home of the Word. It seeks 
admittance there. Confession with the mouth, or out- 
ward testimony, if real, must be the outflow of a believ- 
ing heart (Rom. x. 9). Heart-knowledge of the Word 
must be sought after by every Christian who would know 



THE SPIRIT AND THE WORD. 337 

more of Jesus, who seeks to know the will of God, and 
who gladly recognizes the prerogative of the Spirit as the 
supreme, qualified, and infallible Bible-teacher. 

2. Secondly : bearing in mind the relations of both, 
will also guard us from a dreaded mysticism, or a dead 
sentimental ism. Seeking revelations, or experiences from 
the Holy Spirit, outside of, and apart from, the Holy 
Scriptures, leads to fanatical extravagances. He needs a 
keen and watchful eye who can readily distinguish the 
operations of the Spirit from human fancies outside of the 
Word. And when the voice of God in His word is con- 
sidered too feeble, and a more pronounced voice is de- 
manded by the listening soul, let it be remembered that 
Satan can mimic to deceive, even as he can adopt the 
guise of a good angel for a like purpose. The canon of 
Scripture is closed and is complete. Within its range 
we may freely roam in search of truth, our trembling 
hand held in the strong hand of the Holy Spirit, our 
guide. Its pastures are our feeding-places; its still 
waters will slake our thirst. .Rapt visions, celestial 
dreams, or mysterious inward impressions, must not be 
heeded when antagonistic to the revealed will of God, 
and the true teaching of the Spirit in the Bible. It is an 
evil work to attribute to the Spirit monitions and emo- 
tions for which He is not responsible. He has given ns 
the Scriptures. By these He will teach us, and comfort 
us. In our study of the same, we shall have His prom- 
ised aid ; in our Christian work, we shall have His needed 
help. And in distinguishing His personality, as co-equal 
with the Father and the Son, from the instrument of His 
official ministry in the Church, namely, His thoughts and 
words, let us not seek their divorce. For of the Spirit 
and the Word it may be truly said, " What God hath 
joined together, let not man put asunder." 



THE OKGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE.* 

AETHCB T. PIEKSON, D.D. 

THE Armageddon the final, decisive battle of the ages 
draws nigh. Out of the mouth of the Dragon, the 
Beast, and the False Prophet, issue the unclean spirits of 
demons, working wonders ; and the "kings of the earth 
rather for a last assault upon the religion of Jesus. 

From every quarter come the foes of Christ and His 
Church. The kings of power, with the riches of empires 
at their command ; the kings of science, with their athe- 
istic philosophy ; the kings of oratory, with the poison of 
asps under their silver tongues ; the kings of letters, with 
their golden pens dipped in blasphemy, are marshalling 
their hosts unto the battle, while atheists and nihilists, 
the secretly hostile and the openly profane, unbelievers 
and disbelievers, the polished sceptic and the politic lib- 
eralist, the foes of manly sobriety and the betrayers of 
womanly virtue, the dynamite fiends and the traffickers 
in souls, swell the ranks of Satan's great army. 

In this crisis, all that is precious to the believer is at 
stake ; and because the Bible, as the Book of God, and 
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, are vital to our holy faith, 
they are the centre of assault. All controversies as to 
other issues are of minor importance, mere skirmishes 
along the line of the outposts. Strifes about forms of 
church polity and statements of church doctrine, the use 



*This address was delivered entirely without manuscript, 
but is essentially reproduced in all important particulars. 
EDITOR. 

(338) 



THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 339 

of uninspired hymns and elaborate ritual, clerical orders 
and laymen's prerogatives these are only wars of words, 
often bitterest among disciples who, in face of such foes, 
should forget that in which they differ, and remember 
only in what they agree. A delegate to the Great Council 
at Belfast said : "I find you engaged in animated contro- 
versy over the lawfulness of singing Psalms : meanwhile, in 
France, our people are asking whether there be a God ! " 

The enemy is seeking to undermine the Word of God, 
to demolish the Gibraltar of our Christianity. Upon the 
Inspiration and Infallibility of the Holy Scriptures rest, 
also, the Divinity and Redemptive work of the Lord Je- 
sus. They stand or fall together. 

The argument I am to present is that drawn from the 
unity of the Bible. This unity may be seen in several 
conspicuous particulars, upon some of which it will be 
well to dilate. 

1. The unity is structural. In the book itself appears, 
on close study, a certain archetypal, architectural plan. 
The two Testaments are built on the same general scheme. 
Each is in three parts : historic, didactic, prophetic, looking 
to the past, the present, and the future. The symmetry of 
structure appears even in details, as in the Old Testa- 
ment, where five books of Moses are succeeded by twelve 
others, historical ; then by five poetic, five of the major 
and twelve of the minor prophets. 

He*e is a collection of books ; in their style and char- 
acter there is great variety and diversity : some are his- 
torical, others poetical ; some contain laws, others lyrics ; 
some are prophetic, some symbolic ; in the Old Testa- 
ment we have historical, poetical, and prophetical divis- 
ions ; and in the I^ew Testament we have historic nar- 
ratives, then twenty-one epistles, then a symbolic, 
apocalyptic poem in oriental imagery. And yet this is 
no artificial arrangement of fragments. We find u the 



340 THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 

Old Testament patent in the New ; the New latent in 
the Old." 

In such a book, then, it is not likely that there would 
be unity ; for all the conditions were unfavorable, all the 
circumstances disadvantageous to a harmonious moral 
testimony and teaching. Here are some sixty or more 
separate documents, written by some forty diiferent per- 
sons, scattered over wide intervals of space and time, 
strangers to each other; these documents are written 
in three different languages, in different lands, among 
different and sometimes hostile peoples, with marked 
diversities of literary style, and by men of all grades of 
culture and mental capacity, from Moses to Malachi ; and 
when we look into these productions, there is even in 
them great unlikeness, both in matter and manner of 
statement ; and yet they all constitute one volume. 

Imagine another book, compiled by as many authors, 
scattered over as many centuries! Herodotus, in the 
fifth century before Christ, contributes an historic frag- 
ment on the origin of all things ; a century later, Aris- 
totle adds a book on moral philosophy ; two centuries 
pass, and Cicero adds a work on law and government ; 
still another hundred years, and Virgil furnishes a grand 
poem on ethics. In the next century, Plutarch supplies 
some biographical sketches; nearly two hundred years 
after, Origen adds essays on religious creeds and conduct ; 
a century and a half later, Augustine writes a treatise on 
theology, and Chrysostom a book of sermons ; then seven 
centuries pass away, and Abelard completes the compila- 
tion by a magnificent series of essays on rhetoric and 
scholastic philosophy. And, between these extremes, 
which, like the Bible, span fifteen centuries, all along 
from Herodotus to Abelard, are thirty other contributors, 
whose works enter into the final result men of different 
nations, periods, habits, languages, and education. Un- 



THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 341 

der the best conditions, how much real unity could be ex- 
pected, even if each successive contributor had read all 
that preceded his own fragment ? Yet here all are entirely 
at agreement. There is diversity in unity, and unity in 
diversity. It is " e pluribus unum." If, at first sight, 
there be apparent divergence, a further search shows real 
harmony. As in a stereoscope, the two pictures some- 
times appear as distinct, and will not come together, but, 
as we continue to look, and as the eye rests on some par- 
ticular point, one view is seen ; so in the Word of God. 
The more we study it, the more do its unity and har- 
mony appear. Even the Law and the Gospel are not in 
conflict. They stand, like the cherubim, facing different 
ways, but their faces are toward each other. And the 
four gospels, like the cherubic creatures in Ezekiel's vis- 
ion, facing in four different directions, move in one. All 
the criticism of more than three thousand years has failed 
to point out one important or irreconcilable contradiction 
in the testimony and teachings of those who are farthest 
separated there is no collision, yet there could be no 
collusion ! 

How can this be accounted for ? There is no answer 
which can be given unless you admit the supernatural 
element. If God actually superintended the production 
of this book, so that all who contributed to it were guided 
by Him, then its unity is the unity of a divine plan and 
its harmony the harmony of a supreme intelligence and 
will. 

As the baton rises and falls in the hand of the conductor 
of some grand orchestra, from volin and bass-viol, cornet 
and flute, trombone and trumpet, flageolet and clarinet, 
bugle and French horn, cymbals and drum, there comes 
one grand harmony ! There is no doubt, though the con- 
ductor were screened from view, that one master mind 
controls all the instrumental performers. But God makes 



342 THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 

His oratorio to play for more than a thousand years; and 
where one musician becomes silent, another takes up the 
strain, and yet it is all one grand symphony the key is 
never lost and never changes except by those exquisite 
modulations that show the master composer ; and when 
the last strain dies away it is seen that all these glorious 
movements and melodies have been variations on one 
grand theme ! Did each musician compose as he played, 
or was there one composer back of all the players I " one 
supreme and regulating mind" in this Oratorio of the 
Ages? If God was the master musician planning the 
whole and arranging the parts, appointing player to suc- 
ceed player, and making one strain to modulate or melt into 
another, then we can understand how Moses' grand anthem 
of Creation glides into Isaiah's oratorio of the Messiah ; 
by and by sinks into Jeremiah's plaintive wail, swells 
into Ezekiel's awful chorus, changes into Daniel's raptur- 
ous lyric ; and, after the quartette of the evangelists, closes 
with John's full choir of saints and angels ! 

The temple, first built upon Mt. Moriah, was built of 
stone, made ready before it was brought thither ; there 
was neither hammer nor ax nor any tool of iron heard in 
the house, while it was in building. The stone was cut, 
squared, polished, and fitted to its place in the quarry, be- 
fore it was brought to the temple platform the beams 
and boards were all wrought into the desired form and 
shape in the shops ; and when the material for the temple 
was on the ground nothing was necessary but to put it 
together. What insured symmetry in the temple when 
constructed, and harmony between the workmen in the 
quarries and the shops, and the builders on the hill ? One 
presiding mind planned the w r hole ; one intelligence built 
that whole structure in ideal before it was in fact. The 
builders built more wisely than they knew, putting to- 
gether the ideas of the architect and not their own. Only 



THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 343 

so can we account for the structural unity of the Word of 
God. The structure was planned and wrought out in the 
mind of a divine Architect who, through the ages, super- 
intended His own workmen and work. Moses laid its 
foundations, not knowing who should build after him, or 
what form the structure should assume. Workman after 
workman followed ; he might see that there was agree- 
ment with what went before, but he could not foresee that 
what should come after would be only the sublime carry- 
ing out of the grand plan. And yet no one disputes the 
singular unity of the structure, though during all those 
sixteen centuries through which the building rose toward 
completion, there was no sound of ax or hammer, no chip- 
ping or hacking to make one part tit its fellow. Every- 
thing is in agreement with everything else, because the 
whole Bible was built in the thought of God before one 
book was laid in order. The building rose steadily from 
corner-stone to cap-stone, foundations first, then storey 
after storey, pillars on pedestals, and capitals on pillars, 
and arches on capitals, till, like a dome, flashing back the 
splendors of the noonday, the Apocalypse spans and 
crowns and completes the whole, glorious with celestial 
visions. 

You cannot look on that cathedral at Milan, whose first 
stone was laid in 1386, March 15th, and which after these 
five centuries is yet incomplete, without instinctively 
knowing that it must have been the product of one mind, 
however many workmen may have helped to rear its mar- 
ble walls and pinnacles. Its unity of design cannot be the 
result of accident. No, the workmen were nut the archi- 
tect. Every stone was shaped and polished to fit its place 
in the plan. And so of the Bible: that cathedral of the 
ages ! Whoever the workmen were, the architect was 
God 1 

2. i he unity is historic. The whole Bible is the his- 



344 THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 

tory of the kingdom of God. Israel represents that king- 
dom. Aud two things are noticeable. All centres about 
the Hebrew nationality. With their origin and progress 
the main historical portion begins ; and with their apos- 
tasy and captivity it stops. The times of the Gentiles 
filled the interval, and have no proper history ; prophecy, 
which is history anticipated, takes up the broken thread, 
and gives us the outline of the future, when Israel shall 
again take its place among the nations. 

3. The unity is dispensational. There are certain uni- 
form dispensational features which distinguish every new 
period. Each dispensation is marked by seven features, 
in the following order : (a). Increased light ; (5). Decline 
of spiritual life; (<?). Union between disciples and the 
world ; (d). A gigantic civilization worldly in type ; 
(e). Parallel development of good and evil ; (/"). Apos- 
tasy on the part of God's people ; (g). Concluding judg- 
ment. We are now in the seventh dispensation, and the 
same seven marks have been upon all alike, showing one 
controlling power Deus in Historia. 

4. The unity is prophetic. Of all prophecy, there is 
but one centre : The kingdom and the king. 1. Adam, 
the first king, lost his sceptre by sin. His probation 
ended in failure and disaster, wreck and ruin. 2. The 
second Adam, in his probation, gained the victory, routed 
the tempter, and stood firm. The two Coinings of this 
King constituted the two focal centres of the prophetic 
ellipse. His first coming was to make possible an empire 
in man and over man. His second coming will be to set 
that empire up in glory. All prophecy moves about 
these two advents. It touches Israel only as related to 
the kingdom ; and the Gentiles only as related to Israel. 
Hence, in the Old Testament, Nineveh, Babylon, and 
Egypt loom up in the prophetic horizon as the main foes 
to the kingdom, as represented by the Hebrews ; and in 



THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 345 

the New Testament^ the Beast, Prophet, and Dragon are 
conspicuous as the gigantic adversaries of that kingdom, 
after Israel again takes her place in history and prophecy. 
There are some six hundred and sixty-six general 
prophecies in the Old Testament, three hundred and 
thirty-three of which refer particularly to the coming 
Messiah, and meet only in Him. 

5. The unity is therefore also personal : 

" In the volume of the Book 
It is written of Me." 

There is but one Book, and within it but one Person. 
Christ is the centre of the Old Testament prophecy, as 
He is of New Testament history. From Genesis iii. to 
Malachi iii., He fills out the historic and prophetic profile. 
Not only do the three hundred and thirty-three predic- 
tions uniie in Him, but even the rites and ceremonies 
find in Him their only interpreter. Nay, historic char- 
acters prefigure Him, and historic events are the pictorial 
illustrations of His vicarious ministry. The Old Testa- 
ment is a lock of which Christ is the key. The prophetic 
plant of renown becomes a burning bush, as twig after 
twig of prediction flames with fulfilment. The crimson 
thread runs through the whole Bible. Beginning at any 
point, you may preach Jesus. The profile at first a 
drawing, without color, a mere outline is filled in by 
successive artists, until the life tints glow on the canvas 
of the centuries, and the perfect portrait of the Messiah 
is revealed. 

6. The unity is symbolic. I mean that there is a corre- 
sponding use of symbols, whether in form, color, or num- 
bers. In form, we have the square, the cube, and the 
circle, throughout, and used as types of the same truths. 
In color, we have the white for purity, the lustrous white 
for glory, the red for the guilt of sin and the sacrifice for 



346 THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 

sin, the blue for truth and fidelity to promise, the purple 
for royalty, the pale or livid hue for death, and the black 
for woe and disaster. In numbers there is plainly a nu- 
merical system. One seems to represent unity, two cor- 
respondence and confirmation or contradiction, three is 
the number of godhead, four of the world and man. 
Seven, which is the sum of three and four, stands for the 
combination of the divine and human ; twelve, the prod- 
ucts of three and four, for the divine interpenetrating 
the human ; ten, the sum of one, two, three, and four, is 
the number of completeness ; three and a half, the broken 
number, represents tribulation ; six, which stops short of 
seven, is unrest ; eight, which is beyond the number of 
rest, is the number of victory. All this implies one pre- 
siding mind, and it could not be man's mind. 

7. The unity is didactic. In the entire range and 
scope of the ethical teaching of the Bible, there is no in- 
consistency or contradiction or adulteration. But we 
need to observe a distinction maintained throughout as to 
natural religion and spiritual religion. There is a nat- 
ural religion. Had man remained loyal to God, the uni- 
versal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood 
of man would have been the two great facts and laws of 
humanity ; the broad, adequate basis of the natural claim 
of God to filial obedience, and of man to fraternal love. 
But man sinned. He fell from the filial relationship ; he 
disowned God as his Father. Hence, the need of a new 
and spiritual relationship and religion. In Christ, God's 
fatherhood is restored and man's brotherhood re-estab- 
lished, but these are treated as universal only to the cir- 
cle of believers. A new obedience is now enforced, rest- 
ing its claim, not on creation and providence, but on new 
creation and grace. Man learns a supernatural love and 
life. 

Upon this didactic unity we stop to expatiate. 



THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 

In not one respect are these doctrinal and ethical teach- 
ings in conflict, from beginning to end ; we find in them a 
positive oneness of doctrine which amazes us. Even 
where at first glance there appears to be conflict, as be- 
tween Paul and James, we find, on closer examination, 
that instead of standing face to face, beating each other, 
they stand back to back, beating off common foes. 

We observe, moreover, a progressive development of 
revelation. Bernhard devoted the powers of his master 
mind to tracing the " Progress of Doctrine in the New 
Testament." He shows that although there could have 
been no such intent or intelligence in the writers' minds, 
and although the books of the New Testament are not 
even arranged in the order of their production, that order 
could not, in one instance, be changed without impairing 
or destroying the symmetry of the whole book; and that 
there is a regular progress in the unfolding of doctrine 
from the Gospel according to Matthew to the Revelation 
of St. John. 

A wider examination will show the very same progress 
of doctrine in the whole Bible. Most wonderful of all, 
this moral and didactic unity could not be fully under- 
stood till the book was completed. The process of prepara- 
tion, like a scaffolding about a building, obscured its 
beauty ; even the workmen upon it could not appreciate 
its harmony; but, when John placed the cap-stone in 
position and declared that nothing further should be 
added, the scaffolding fell and a grand cathedral was 
revealed. 

8. The unity is scientific. The Bible is not a scientific 
book, but it follows one consistent law. Like an engine 
on its own track, it thunders across the track of science, 
but is never diverted from its own. 

(1). No direct teaching or anticipation of scientific 
truth is here found. (2). No scientific fact is ever mis- 



348 THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 

stated, though common, popular phraseology may be em- 
ployed. (3). An elastic set of terms is used, which contain, 
in germ, all scientific truth as the acorn infolds the oak. 

These statements deserve a little amplification, as this 
has been supposed to be the weak side of the Bible. Yet, 
after a study of the Word on the one hand and natural 
science on the other, carried on for thirty years, I believe 
we may safely challenge any living man to bring one well- 
established fact of science against which the Bible really 
and irreconcilably militates ! 

God led inspired men to use such language, as that, 
without revealing scientific facts in advance, it accurately 
accommodates itself to them when discovered. 

The language is so elastic and flexible as to contract it- 
self to the narrowness of ignorance, and yet expand itself 
to the dimensions of knowledge, like the rubber bandage, 
so invaluable in modern surgery, which stretches about 
an inflamed and swollen limb, yet shrinks as the swelling 
abates. If there be terms or phrases which, without sug- 
gesting puzzling enigmas, shall yet contain within them- 
selves ample space for all the demands of growing human 
knowledge ; if the Bible may, from imperfect human lan- 
guage, select terms which may hold hidden truths till ages 
to come shall disclose the inner meaning, that would seem 
to be the best solution of this difficult problem. And now, 
when we come to compare the language of the Bible with 
modern science, we find just this to be the fact. 

For example, we are told that the Bible term "firma- 
ment " is but an ancient blunder crystallized. Modern 
science says : " Ye have heard it hath been said by them 
of old time, there is a solid sphere above us which revolves 
with its starry lamps ; but this is an old notion of igno- 
rance, for there is nothing but vast space filled with ether 
above us, and stars have an apparent motion because the 
earth turns on its axis." 



THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 349 

But this word "firmament," which has been declared 
"irreconcilable with modern astronomy," we find, on 
consulting our Hebrew lexicon, means simply an " ex- 
panse." If Moses had been Mitchell, he could not have 
chosen a better word to express the appearance, and yet 
accommodate the reality. He actually anticipated sci- 
ence. This is one of the " mistakes of Moses " to which 
the modern blasphemer does not refer ! 

The general correspondence between the Mosaic ac- 
count of creation and the most advanced discoveries 'of 
science, proves that only He who built the world built 
the Book. 

As to the order of creation, both Moses and geology 
agree. Both teach that at first there was an abyss, or 
watery waste, whose dense vapors shut out light. Both 
make life to precede light ; and the life to develop be- 
neath the abyss. Both make the atmosphere to form an 
expanse by lifting watery vapors into cloud, and so sepa- 
rating the fountains of waters above from the fountains 
below. Both tell us that continents next lifted them- 
selves from beneath the great deep, and brought forth 
grass, herb, and tree, the three orders of primeval vege- 
tation. Both teach that the heavens became cleared of 
cloud, and the sun and moon and stars, which then ap- 
peared, began to serve to divide day from night, and to 
become signs for seasons and years. Both then represent 
the waters bringing forth moving and creeping creatures, 
and fowl flying in the expanse, followed next by the race 
of quadruped mammals, and, last of all, by man himself. 

There is the same agreement as to the order of animal 
creation. Geology and comparative anatomy combine to 
teach that the order was from lower to higher types. 
First, the fish, in which the proportion of brain to spinal 
cord is as 2 to 1 ; then reptiles, in which it is as 2^- to 1 ; 
birds, 3 to 1 ; mammals, 4 to 1 ; man, 33 to 1. Now, 



350 THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 

this is exactly the order of Moses. "Who told him what 
modern science has discovered, that fish and reptiles be- 
long below birds ? As Mr. Tullidge says : " With the 
advance of discovery, the opposition supposed to exist 
between Revelation and Geology has disappeared ; and 
of the eighty theories which the French Institute counted, 
in 1806, as hostile to the Bible, not one now stands." 

Take an example of this scientific accuracy from as- 
tronomy. Says Jeremiah : " The host of heaven cannot 
be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured." * 
The vast host of stars is a matter of modern discovery. 
Hipparchus, about a century and a half before Christ, 
gave the number of stars as 1,022, and Ptolemy, in the 
beginning of the second century of the Christian era, 
could find but 1,026. We may, on a clear night, with 
the unaided eye, see only 1,160, or in the whole celestial 
sphere, about 3,000. But when the telescope began to 
be pointed to the heavens, less than three centuries ago, 
by Galileo, then, for the first time, men began to know 
that the stars are as countless as the sand on the seashore. 
"When Lord Rosse turned his great mirror to the sky, lo ! the 
number of visible stars increased to nearly 400,000,000 ! 
They are like shining dust scattered on the black back- 
ground of the heavens. John Herschel, at the foot of 
the dark continent, resolves the nebulae into suns, and, as 
with the eye of a Titan, finds in the cloudy scarf about 
Orion, u a gorgeous bed of stars," and the very Milky 
Way itself, which floats its streaming banner across 
the vault of heaven, proves to be simply a grand pro- 
cession of stars absolutely without number. And so, the 
exclamation of the prophet, 600 years before Christ, 
2,200 years before Galileo, "the host of heaven cannot 
be numbered," proves to be not a wild, poetic exaggera- 



* Jer. xxxiii. 22. 



THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 351 

tion, but literal truth. Who was Jeremiah's teacher in 
astronomy 1 

Let us take an example from natural philosophy. Mo- 
ses accords with modern discoveries as to the nature of 
light, in not representing this mystery as being made, but 
" called forth " commanded to shine. If light be only 
" a mode of motion," how appropriate such phraseology ! 

In Job, we read of the dayspring that it " takes hold 
of the ends of the earth ; it is turned as clay to the seal, 
and they stand as a garment." * The ancient cylindrical 
seals rolled over the clay, and left an impress of artistic 
beauty. What was without form, before, stood out in 
bold relief, like sculpture. So, as the earth revolves, and 
brings each portion of its surface successively under the 
sun's light and heat, what was before dull, dark, dead, 
discloses and develops beauty, and the clay stands like a 
garment, curiously wrought in bold relief and brilliant 
colors. Considered either as science or poetry, where, in 
any other book of antiquity, can you find anything equal 
to that ? That phrase, " takes hold of the ends of the 
earth," conveys the idea of a bending of the rays of 
light, like the fingers of the hand when they lay hold; 
and this is spoken of the " ends of the earth." When the 
sunlight would touch the extremities of the earth, it is 
bent by the atmosphere so as to secure contact, and, but 
for this, vast portions, out of the direct line of the sun's 
rays, would be dark, cold, and dead. Who taught Job, 
1,500 years or more before Christ, to use terms that 
Longfellow or Tennyson might covet to describe refrac- 
tion 2 

" When the morning stars sang together " f has been 
always taken to be a high flight of poetry. And when 
in the Psalms J we read : " Thou makest the outgoings of 



* Job xxxviii. 13, 14. t Job xxxviii. 7. I Ixv. 8. 



352 THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 

the morning and evening to rejoice," the Hebrew word 
means to give forth a tremulous sound, or to make vibra- 
tions to sing. In these poetic expressions, what scien- 
tific truth was wrapped up ! Light comes to the eve in 
undulations or vibrations, as tones of sound to the ear. 
There is a point at which these vibrations are too rapid 
or delicate to be detected by our sense of hearing ; then 
a more delicate organ, the eye, must take note of them ; 
they appeal to the optic nerve instead of the auditory 
nerve, and as light and not sound. Thus, light really 
sings. " The lowest audible tone is made by 16.5 vibra- 
tions of air per second ; the highest, by 38,000 ; between 
these extremes lie eleven octaves. Vibrations do not 
cease at 38,000, but our organs are not fitted to hear be- 
yond those limitations. Were our ears delicate enough, 
we could hear even up to the almost infinite vibrations of 
light." And so it is literally true that " the morning 
stars sang together." Here is divine phraseology that has 
been standing there for ages uninterpreted, waiting for 
an intelligence that could take it in. And now we may 
read it just as it stands : u Thou makest the outgoings, 
or light radiations, of the morning and evening to sing," 
i. e., to give forth sound by vibration. 

Solomon has left us a poetic description of death.* 
How that " silver cord" describes the spinal marrow; the 
"golden bowl," the basin which holds the brain; the 
" pitcher," the lungs ; and the " wheel," the heart ! 

The circulation of the blood was discovered twenty-six 
hundred years afterward by Harvey. Is it not very re- 
markable that the language Solomon uses exactly suits 
the fact a wheel pumping up through one pipe, to dis- 
charge through another? 

9. Last of all, the unity of the Bible is organic. And 



* Eccles. xii. 6. 



THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 353 

this means it is the unity of organized being. Organic 
unity implies three things : first, that all parts are neces- 
sary to a complete whole ; secondly, that all are necessary 
to complement each other; and thirdly, that all are per- 
vaded by one life-principle. 

Let us apply these laws to the Word of God 

1. All the parts of the Bible are necessary to its com- 
pleteness. Organic unity is dependent on the existence 
and co-operation of organs. An oratorio is not an organic 
unit. Any part of it may be separated from the rest, or 
displaced by a new composition. 

The unity of a building is not organic : it is a unity of 
plan, of construction, of material ; but you may take down 
the wall and put up another; replace the windows by 
memorial panes, making each a crystal monument of 
some departed friend ; change all the woodwork in the 
interior; and yet the unity and completeness of the build- 
ing are not affected. Eut if this body of mine loses an 
eye, a limb, or the smallest joint of the finger, it is for- 
ever maimed : its completeness is gone ; its unity vio- 
lated ; and nothing can ever supply the lack of that lost 
portion however insignificant. 

Not one of all the books of the Bible could be lost with- 
out maiming the body of truth here contained. Every 
book fills a place. A single glance may not discover its 
use, or its necessity to the plan of the book, but it is the 
fault of our ignorance. 

Here is one complete whole, and twenty-five years of 
study of this one book satisfies me that nothing can be 
omitted. Genesis is the book of beginnings ; Exodus of 
departure and redemption ; Leviticus of sacrifice and 
service ; lumbers is the marshalling of God's hosts, and 
Deuteronomy is the emphasizing of obedience by which 
only this redeemed, separated, elect people can have suc- 
cess and victory. And so the doctrine finds illustration 



354 THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 

and enforcement all through the Old Testament, and 
every book has its own witness to add, its own purpose 
to serve. 

In the New Testament, the Gospels lay down the broad 
basis of facts of Redemption ; the Acts apply those facts 
historically ; the Epistles unfold the germs of doctrine 
previously presented, and the Apocalypse is the outlook 
of the great future. 

For example, the book of Esther has long been criti- 
cised as not necessary to the completeness of the Canon, 
and particularly, because u it does not even once contain 
the name of God." But that book is the most complete 
exhibition of the Providence of God. It teaches a divine 
hand behind human affairs ; ultimate and certain awards 
to the evil and the good ; the uncertain and unsatisfactory 
prosperity of the wicked, and the ultimate prosperity that 
comes to the good even out of adversity; it shows retri- 
bution poetically exact in the very forms of punishment ; 
unbiased freedom of resolution and action as consistent 
with God's overruling sovereignty ; and all things work- 
ing together to produce all grand results, the most minute 
matters furthering Providential plans. The book that 
thus exhibits God's Providence does not contain the name 
of God ; perhaps because this book is meant to teach us 
of the Hidden Hand that, behind the scenes, unseen, 
moves and controls all things. 

" Ruth " seems to be only a love-story, to some ; but 
how rich this book is in foreshadowings of Gospel truth, 
especially illustrating the double nature of the God- man, 
our Redeemer. 

Boaz is a type of Christ Lord of the Harvest, Dispen- 
ser of Bread, Giver of Rest, He is GOEL the Redeemer. 
Two things must unite in the redeemer of a forfeited 
estate : 1. He must be a kinsman, to have the right to re- 
deem. 2. He must be of a higher branch of the family, 



THE* ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 355 

not involved in its calamities, to have power to redeem. 
Boaz, the near kinsman, buying back the lost inheritance 
and marrying Ruth, suggests Jesus, the God-man, our 
near kinsman, yet of a higher family, the redeemer of our 
lost estate, and bridegroom of the redeemed Church. 

The Epistle to Philemon seems at first only a letter to 
a friend about^a runaway slave. But this letter is full of 
illustrations of Grace. The sinner has run away from 
God and robbed Him besides. The law allows him no 
right of asylum ; but grace concedes him the privilege of 
appeal. Christ, God's partner, intercedes. He sends 
him back to the Father no more a slave but a son, and 
says : " I beseech Thee, receive him ; if he hath wronged 
Thee aught, put that to mine account." 

The second law of organic unity is that all parts are 
necessary to complement each other. 

Cuvier has framed in scientific statement this law of 
unity. Organized being, in every case, forms a whole 
a complete system all the parts of which mutually cor- 
respond ; none of these parts can change, without the 
others also changing ; and consequently each taken sepa- 
rately indicates and gives all the others. For instance, 
the sharp-pointed tooth of the lion requires a strong jaw ; 
these demand a skull fitted for the attachment of power- 
ful muscles, both for moving the jaw and raising the 
head ; a broad, well-developed shoulder-blade must ac- 
company such a head ; and there must be an arrangement 
of bones of the leg which admits of the leg-paw being ro- 
tated and turned upward, in order to be used as an in- 
strument to seize and tear the prey ; and of course there 
must be strong claws arming the paw. Hence from one 
tooth, the animal could be modelled though the species 
had perished. 

Thus the Four Gospels are necessary to each other and 
to the whole Bible. Each presents the subject from a 



356 THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 

different point of view, and the combination gives us, 
like a series of concentric mirrors, not an outline picture 
or a mere image, but a divine Person reflected, projected 
before us, like an object with proportions and dimensions. 

Matthew wrote for the Jew, and shows Jesus as the 
King of the Jews, the Royal Lawgiver, the Lion of the 
tribe of Judah. Mark wrote for the Roman, and shows 
Him as the Power of God, the Mighty "Worker, the Ox 
for service and sacrifice. Luke wrote for the Greek, and 
shows Him as the wisdom of God, the human Teacher 
and Friend, the man Christ Jesus. John, writing to 
supplement and complement the other gospels, shows 
Him as Son of God, as well as Son of man, having and 
giving eternal life, the Eagle soaring to the sun, undaz- 
zled by its splendor. 

These Four Gospels are the counterpart of the Four 
Living Creatures (Zoaa) of Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Apoc- 
alypse. Marvellously joined, intertwined with coinci- 
dences, yet separated by differences, they face different 
ways, yet move in one direction, as one Spirit guides ; wing 
with wing, wheel within wheel, full of eyes, the scope of 
their wings dreadful, and their speed like that of light- 
ning. 

These are not Gospels of Matthew, etc., but one Gos- 
pel of Christ, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 
John. The first three present the person and work of 
Christ from the outward, earthly side ; the last, from the 
inward and heavenly. In the beginning of each gospel 
we find emphasized, in Matthew, Christ's genealogy, in 
Mark His majesty, in Luke His humanity, in John His 
divinity. So, in the close of each: in Matthew His res- 
urrection, in Mark His ascension, in Luke His parting 
benediction and promise of enduernent, and in John tho 
added hint of His second Coming. 

The Epistles are likewise all necessary to complete tho 



THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 357 

whole and complement each, other. They form the 
" church-section " of the New Testament. The Church, 
now founded both among Jews and Gentiles, needs the 
germs of doctrine, found in the Gospels, amplified and 
applied, for fuller instruction of believers, solution of 
practical problems, and exposure of errors. This is done 
in the twenty-one Epistles. 

There are five writers, each having his own sphere of 
truth. Paul's great theme is FAITH, and its relations 
to justification, sanctification, service, joy, and glory. 
James treats of WOKKS, their relation to faith, as its 
justification before man. He is the counterpart and com- 
plement of Paul. Peter deals with HOPE, as the in- 
spiration of God's pilgrim people in the temptations and 
trials of the wilderness. John's theme is LOVE, and its 
relation to the light and life of God as manifested in the 
believer. In his gospel, he exhibits eternal life in Christ ; 
in his epistles, eternal life as seen in the believer. Jude 
sounds the trumpet of warning against apostasy, which 
implies the wreck of faith, the delusion of false hope, love 
grown cold, and the utter decay of good works. What 
one of all these writers could we drop from the New 
Testament ? 

The unity of the Bible is the unity of one organic 
whole. The Decalogue demands the Sermon on the 
Mount. Isaiah's prophecy makes necessary the narrative 
of the Evangelists. Daniel fits into the Revelation as 
bone fits socket, or as those strange bones in the vertebral 
column mutually form the axis at the neck. Leviticus 
explains, and is explained by, the Epistle to the Hebrews. 
The Psalms express the highest morality and spirituality 
of the Old Testament, and anticipate the -clearer beauty 
of the New ; they link the Mosaic code with the divine 
ethics of the gospels and the epistles. The Passover fore- 
shadows the Lord's supper, and the Lord's supper inter- 



358 THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 

prets and fulfils the Passover. Even the little book of 
Jonah makes more complete the sublime gospel according 
to John; and Ruth and Esther prophetically hint the 
Acts of the Apostles. Nay, look more closely, and after 
following the course of history and prophecy, gospels and 
epistles, when you come to the last chapters of Revela- 
tion, you find yourself mysteriously touching the first 
chapters of Genesis ; and lo ! as you survey the whole 
track of your thought, you find you have been following 
the perimeter of a golden ring ; the extremities actually 
bend around, touch, and so blend, that no point of con- 
tact is detected. You read in the first of Genesis of the 
first Creation ; in the last of the Revelation, of the new 
Creation the new heaven and the new earth ; there, ot 
the river that watered the garden here, of the pure river 
of the water of life, clear as crystal ; there, of the Tree ot 
Life in the first Eden ; here, of the Tree of Life which is 
in the midst of the Paradise of God ; there, of the God 
who came down to walk with and talk with man ; here, 
we read that the Tabernacle of God is with men ; there, 
we read of the curse that came by sin, of the serpent 
whose trail is over all human joys ; here, we read : "And 
there shall be no more curse ; nothing shall enter that 
defileth or maketh a lie ! " 

The third and last law of organic unity is, that one 
life-principle must pervade the whole. The Life of God 
is in His Word. That Word is "quick" living; it 
" liveth and abideth forever." Is it a mirror ? yes, but 
such a mirror as the living eye ; is it a seed? yes, but a 
seed hiding the vitality of God ; is it a sword ? yes, but 
a sword that omnisciently discerns and omnipotently 
pierces the hurnan heart. Hold it reverently ; for you 
have a living book in your hand. Speak to it, and it 
will answer you. Bend down and listen ; you shall hear 
in it the heart-throbs of God. 



THE ORGANIC UNITY OF THE BIBLE. 359 

This Book, thus one, structurally, historically and pro- 
phetically, symbolically and scientifically, dispensation- 
ally and didactically, personally and organically, we are 
to hold forth as the Word of Life and the Light of God, 
in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. We 
shall meet opposition. Like the birds that beat them- 
selves into insensibility against the light in the Statue of 
Liberty in New York Harbor, the creatures of darkness 
will assault this Word, and vainly seek to put out its 
eternal light. But they shall only fall stunned and de- 
feated at its base, while it still rises from its rock pedes- 
tal, immovable and serene ! 



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